District provides internet for families in need

Story by Natalie Ruiz, Photographer

USD 250 has partnered with the City of Pittsburg and announced free high-speed internet for Dragon families within the city limits. 

This network is called DragonNet and will be available for 500 families at no cost. Only USD 250 designated devices will have access to the DragonNet network. Six antennas will be installed in multiple locations throughout the city of Pittsburg.  

Since COVID, relief funds have been given to each state and provided grants for schools and communities. During the first round of grant funding, USD 250 applied for an initial collaborative grant for the DragonNet project and was given $100,000 to get started. USD 250 applied for the second round of COVID relief under the Broadband Partnership Adoption (BPAG) grant. They were granted $160,000 but later on, the State of Kansas increased the grant to one million for an overall total of $1,100,000. 

To be eligible to receive this network, families first have to apply. DragonNet access will be based on both financial need and as well for families who currently do not have access to unlimited internet service. 

“I use the term ‘leveling the playing field’ for those that cannot afford and make their access equal to those who can afford it then we’ve been a success to that. We’re just trying to close that divide of those that cannot afford quality internet service,” assistant superintendent Dr. Brad Hanson said. 

DragonNet is set to be permanent in USD250 but cost might be a possibility at a later date. The Motorola Nitro device that families will be given is a wireless technology that allows internet connectivity for students who live within a Nitro Tower range. Families will have to pay for any damages just like a Chromebook device that was given to students. 

“I encourage students to apply. It doesn’t hurt to. You do have to have your parents sign off on it but people will apply,” Dr. Hanson said. “Then we’ll start processing it to see who gets approved.”