Last month, Baltimore City Council passed emergency legislation that authorized up to $13 million from the Children & Youth Fund to close the digital divide and provide needed access to food. Today, the Board of Estimates, chaired by Baltimore City Council President Brandon M. Scott (Photo courtesy of Brandon Scott), approved a $3 million transfer from the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund to Baltimore City Schools for distance learning technology in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
We will not wait — yesterday’s $35 million investment with American Rescue Plan dollars is about taking an active role and kickstarting our efforts to close the digital divide once and for all. Ensuring digital equity is not a choice, but an imperative. https://t.co/D5UerFvATX pic.twitter.com/CH7Vc5qAMj
— Brandon M. Scott (@MayorBMScott) December 1, 2021
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make Baltimore’s pre-existing inequities and disparities, including the digital divide, starkly clear,” Scott said in a press release. “This money will be put to good use to meet the educational needs of our young people during this unprecedented time and ensure that they have the resources to continue their studies and work toward their future.”
On April 7, citing the “devastating effect” of the pandemic on youth in Baltimore, the Council President called for use of the Children & Youth Fund to mitigate the worst effects of the COVID-19 emergency and meet the technology needs of students: “Our city’s vast technological and digital divides mean that many students who are now expected to learn at home do not have the basic equipment to do so.”
“This is a huge victory for our children,” said Council President Scott. “I was honored to co-sponsor the legislation creating the Youth Fund, and seeing this money allocated to our students in this time of need comes full circle for me.”