The parent company of Southern California Edison Co. announced Monday that it is donating refurbished laptops and $250,000 to pay for new computers and hot spots for school districts in three California counties, including Los Angeles and Riverside.
The Inglewood Unified School District and the Lake Elsinore Unified School District in Riverside County are among those receiving items funded by the cash grants from Edison International shareholder money. Edison International’s donation of 600 refurbished laptops valued at $270,000 will be distributed to two schools in San Bernardino County, bringing the company’s total donation to $520,000 in support of the California Bridging the Digital Divide (BDD) Fund.
The fund — a statewide effort by the governor’s office, the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education and the Californians Dedicated to Education (CDE) Foundation — seeks to address the digital divide and build more equitable teaching and learning environments, especially for special education, English learner, low-income and rural populations.
“The COVID-19 crisis in K-12 education is taking a disproportionate toll on students, families and educators in our communities,” said Caroline Choi, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at Edison International and Southern California Edison. “This donation will equip school districts in our service area with needed resources to support distance learning for thousands of students and teachers.”
The CDE Foundation — which identified the schools most in need — bought the learning resources in bulk using Edison International’s cash grants, officials said.
“We need to use technology as a tool to educate and not just for distance learning. Devices are part of how we do schooling in the 21st Century,” said Wendy Dougherty, the foundation’s chief operating officer. “We look at this as an opportunity to bridge the digital divide. Hopefully, we have raised awareness of this critical issue for the long term.”
State Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Inglewood, said, “The need for distance learning has proven that the digital divide is real in both rural and urban communities. As these students and Inglewood USD continue to respond to COVID-19 with safe, remote-learning methods, students deserve as much support as we can provide them. Edison’s support of this community is much appreciated.”
State Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Murrieta, said the state’s response to COVID-19 has “created many hardships, especially with regard to how we educate our children.”
“Families are not able to obtain the technology needed for virtual classrooms or have access to quality Internet speeds,” she said. “I thank Edison for their generous donation to ensure that children in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District have the tools they need so they can continue to learn.”
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