Riverside County supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a $1 million allocation of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security Act funds for the purchase of tablets and other gear needed by adult learning centers that have switched to distance education, like K-12 schools.
Supervisors Karen Spiegel and Kevin Jeffries jointly sought and got the full Board of Supervisors’ support for the expenditure.
In a statement posted to the board’s policy agenda, the supervisors said the Education Device Support Program will “ensure that all underserved students in Riverside County have the tools necessary to succeed in a distance learning format.”
There are 20 adult — “continuation” — schools located throughout the county, serving roughly 15,000 students over the age of 18.
Those students fall outside the county Office of Education’s K-12 “One for All” campaign, which was established in August and is supported by a board-approved CARES infusion totaling $10 million.
That money is paying for 22,865 laptops and tablet devices, along with the establishment of 13,315 mobile hotspots in and around students’ homes.
According to the supervisors, the CARES funding for the Education Device Support Program will help cover “the purchase of needed devices and hotspots” for thousands of adult learners in the 20 continuation schools, which are part of the About Students Regional Consortium for Adult Education governed by the California Department of Education.
The total cost of procuring all the necessary equipment for the consortium is estimated to be $6.41 million. In addition to the CARES money, the individual districts within the consortium will be making contributions, according to the supervisors.
Documents posted to the board agenda indicated nearly 75% of the area’s adult students struggle with below average literacy, while 53% are English learners, and 41% fall at or near the poverty line.
The county received a total $487 million in CARES money.