By Deb Miller

Sun Correspondent

Yavapai County Educational Technology Consortium (YCETC) has completed the first county-wide broadband initiative in Arizona. This initiative has brought high speed internet to its members at a fraction of what the cost used to be. On average, the member schools and libraries are saving 87 percent in their annual internet costs. These schools and libraries are made up of both urban and rural entities, including the Jerome Library, Crown King School and Library, Congress School and Library, Hillside School, Bagdad Schools, and Mayer Schools, for example.

The Yavapai County Educational Technology Consortium is the largest educational technology related organization in the state of Arizona and has been serving its member schools and libraries since 2009.

The consortium provides services to school districts, charter schools, libraries and college participants. This model helps secure redundant, secure and sustainable internet service at high speeds. This coordinated educational communication network provides a much-needed boost to service while reducing the costs to separate and distinct educational partners. Yavapai County School Superintendent Tim Carter, who facilitates meeting of the YCETC Board of Directors, says “The increased bandwidth has been a dream come true for many small, rural, and isolated schools and at the same time, providing a huge cost relief to all members.”

This initiative is the result of a 2017 $1.8 million grant from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), the Governor’s Office and the State of Arizona. Now completed, the initiative has connected 76 Yavapai County Schools and Libraries to high speed internet. Additionally, six municipal sites were also added resulting in significant savings for them as well. YCETC Executive Director Stan Goligoski remarked, “The YCETC tackled this project with the mindset that broadband is a utility just like telephone, water, and sewer. By pulling our resources together, even our smallest schools and libraries become a powerful community anchor institution to finally bring high speed internet at a very low price to all communities throughout Yavapai County.”

YCETC Vice President Marvy McNeese, the Principal at Prescott Lakes Parkway School comments, “Not only will the students and educators benefit from this new connectivity, but entire communities in these remote areas of Yavapai County will feel the positive impact as well. The learning opportunities for students are really exciting. Their world just opened up.”

All Yavapai County governmental agencies are eligible to join. Please contact Frank Vander Horst at frank.vander.horst@yavapai.us for more information.

Congress Public Library will host a book discussion from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 8. Crafternoon sessions for creativity and social fun are held from 2 to 3 p.m. every Wednesday afternoon at the library. The location is 26750 S Santa Fe Road in Congress. Call (928) 427-3945 to learn more.

Congress Fire District reminds everyone that fire season is upon us. Stage 1 burn restrictions have been in effect since June 17. The ban is being established by the Southern Yavapai Fire department and surrounding departments. This restriction is in place due to dry conditions and wind. The restriction means no burn permits will be issued; use of model rockets is prohibited; use of fireworks and other pyrotechnic displays are prohibited except by commercial special events permit; no smoking is permitted outside of vehicles, outside of residential yards or outside of designated smoking areas; cooking on covered charcoal grills and use of store-bought fire pits which are screened is allowed at single and multi-family residences and town parks where approved but must be attended at all times; no open flames. Contact (928) 427-3336 for more information.

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