Scottsdale teachers are pitching in to help some of their less fortunate students get Internet access.
The Scottsdale Education Association, which is the Scottsdale Unified School District's teacher's union, raised $600 to purchase wireless Internet cards that will go into refurbished computers the school district hopes to give to families. The money was raised through raffles at an employee picnic.
The teacher's group hopes to raise more money for the project to go along with the district's effort to provide free Internet to families who live near Yavapai Elementary School, 701 N. Miller Road.
"We do have a lot of kids whose families don't have a computer to access (the Internet)," said Eric Kurland, association president. "Even though you want the learning to continue past the classroom door, it's not always readily available."
Only 7 percent of Yavapai families have Internet access at home, according to a survey conducted last fall, said Ernie Nicely, district technology director.
To fix that, the school district is applying for grants to install wireless Internet access points in the neighborhood around Yavapai.
The district wants to have the system operational by the fall if it gets a grant, Nicely said.
The district has already started soliciting donations of old computers, which will be refurbished by Coronado High School students and equipped with wireless cards donated by the teachers before district families can apply to receive them, Nicely said.
However, the district won't actually collect any computers until it knows the project is a go.