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September 24, 2021

Senator King Announces $1.6 Million to Maine Schools, Districts from American Rescue Plan To Shrink “Digital Divide”

First wave of funding from March legislation will help 23 schools and school districts improve access to devices and broadband connectivity for students.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today released a statement from Senator King, co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, announcing that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be distributing $1,646,178 to 23 Maine schools and school districts. The funding is the first wave of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund created by the American Rescue Plan negotiated by Senator King, which passed in March by a vote of 50-49 with the Senator’s vote. Additional grants will be forthcoming in the months ahead; interested applicants can still seek program funding starting on September 28, with additional details available at

Senator King previously announced that $128 million would be delivered from the American Rescue Plan to expand Maine’s broadband funding. Combined with the funding Maine is projected to receive from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act upon House passage, the state will receive hundreds of millions of dollars to increase affordable, high-speed broadband access statewide and narrow Maine’s digital divide.

“Students are returning to their classrooms, but the digital divide remains a major challenge. A high-speed broadband connection is a must-have for young people pursuing their education,” said Senator King. “As more research and assignments move online, we must ensure that students aren’t blocked from completing their work by insufficient connectivity at home. These funds from the American Rescue Plan are a needed step forward to help ensure that every student, in every community, has a chance to succeed academically during this pandemic and beyond.”

“The American Rescue Plan continues to deliver for Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “These critical funds will help schools across our state make important strides to bridge the digital divide and ensure that every student, regardless of where they live in Maine, is able to have the connectivity and digital tools they need to succeed. I thank Senator King for his hard work to secure these important funds.”

The funds have been allocated to the following schools:

·       MSAD #60 in North Berwick: $552,924

·       Acton School Department in Acton: $21,400

·       MSAD #55 in Hiram: $36,000

·       Sanford School Department in Sanford: $133,623.50

·       Wells-Ogunquit Community School District in Wells: $80,509.75

·       Yarmouth School District in Yarmouth: $29,507.20

·       South Portland School Department in South Portland: $29,998

·       RSU #40 in Union: $69,838.67

·       MSAD #75 in Topsham: $34,999

·       RSU #57 in Waterboro: $40,680

·       RSU #14 in Windham: $27,811.78

·       RSU #38 in Readfield: $5,400

·       St. Dominic Regional High School: $45,664

·       Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield: $6,008

·       MSAD #4 in Guilford: $24,447.70

·       Lincolnville School District in Lincolnville: $20,800

·       RSU #83 in Bingham: $2,160

·       MSAD #58 in Phillips: $170,000

·       MSAD #74 in North Anson: $25,705.60

·       MSAD #54 in Skowhegan: $215,760

·       Maine Indian Education in Calais: $2,160

·       RSU #20 in Searsport: $53,293.80

·       St. Dominic’s Academy: $18,487.50

As co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Senator King has been a strong advocate for expanding affordable broadband access as a way to increase economic opportunity in rural Maine – and has raised the issue consistently during the coronavirus pandemic. The March edition of Senator King’s “Inside Maine” podcast focused on this historic investment during a conversation with Tilson Technologies’ Josh Broder, and Pew Charitable Trusts’ Kathryn de Wit. Senator King has also urged the Biden Administration to update federal standards for high-speed broadband to reflect modern uses, calling for updating the definition of high-speed broadband to 100 megabits per second of upload and download speed.

Senator King also worked to secure broadband funds in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which is being considered in the House and will invest $65 billion in broadband infrastructure across the nation. The legislation’s broadband provisions include over $40 billion in block grants to states and $2 billion for tribal governments, mirroring the bipartisan BRIDGE Act introduced by Senators King, Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) earlier this year. The IIJA also includes Senator King’s Digital Equity Actinvesting $2.75 billion in an array of projects at the state and local level that promote “digital equity.”

Expanding broadband is one of Governor Mills’ highest priorities. In addition to establishing the Maine Connectivity Authority, the Governor dedicated $5.6 million in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds in partnership with private internet providers to build out permanent internet infrastructure to more than 730 students across rural Maine. The initiative built on the Mills Administration’s previous work to secure mobile hotspots and learning devices for nearly 24,000 students across Maine after schools suspended in-classroom instruction and adopted remote learning earlier this year.

Since its March passage, the American Rescue Plan has also delivered Maine:

·       $41 million in funding for local Maine health centers.

·       Support for testing and tracing in vulnerable Maine communities.

·       Nearly $1 million to confront the rise in mental health challenges and substance use disorders.

·       A child tax credit expansion to lift 10,000 Maine children out of poverty.

·       Nearly $1.5 billion in aid to Maine’s state, county, and local governments.

·       Over $56 million in assistance for Maine’s small business community.

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