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Buffalo schools working to close the digital divide

WBFO file photo

In Buffalo, about one-third of all residents have no computer access. That reality impacts city classrooms as students contend with the digital divide. Efforts are underway to overcome that deficit.

The district is in the middle of issuing computers to every student to match the suburban schools and those around the world. Much of this is paid for by the federal e-rate program and there is a $3 million request for next year.

"They have to have it," Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash said of technology being available to city students.

"There has to be training of the teachers around that and then it's maximized. Right now, I think we're optimizing our use of technology."

The school system is planning a community WiFi system which will put a signal into the neighborhood around each school.

"We've replaced every wireless access point across the district," said Instructional Technology Director William Russo.

"We have much greater density and much greater throughput now and that was in anticipation of now coming through with all of the portable devices for our students."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.