Press Release

September 18, 2014
Cardin, Mikulski, Delaney Announce Funding to Extend High-Speed Connections for Bel Air Elementary

WASHINGTONU.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski along with U.S. Congressman John Delaney (D-6) (all D-Md.), announced that the Allegany County Board Of Education has received a grant in the amount of $34,375 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) fund the extension of fiber optic cable at Bel Air Elementary School. Bel Air Elementary is the only school in Allegany County without fiber optic connectivity.


“Internet access is no longer a luxury item but a necessity for educating the next generation of American innovators and leaders,” said Senator Cardin. “Bel Air Elementary is full of bright students, dedicated teachers and families who want the best for their children. I’m proud that the federal government is a strong partner in providing the resources required to help these children live up to their fullest potential. I look forward to continuing to work with ARC, Senator Mikulski and Rep. Delaney to provide the tools for educational success in Western Maryland.”


“Education is the opportunity ladder of this nation. Every child deserves their chance to climb that ladder,” said Senator Mikulski, a senior member of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “Connecting Western Maryland schools with our state’s broadband infrastructure is about preparing children today for jobs tomorrow. These funds in the federal checkbook will ensure our students at Bel Air Elementary have the tools they need to succeed.”


“Today, a world-class education means quality and dedicated teachers, proper supplies and facilities, and access to modern technology,” said Congressman Delaney. “I want all of our students to receive the education they need to thrive, regardless of where they live. In partnership with support from local sources, this federal grant will help improve education at Bel Air Elementary, allowing the school to more fully utilize new learning programs.”


“I am very excited about receiving the fiber optic connectivity at Bel Air School.  Student and teacher interaction with technology occurs daily.  This will enhance technology instruction and student learning as we continue to strive for excellence in our school. The students and staff at Bel Air appreciate all those who made it possible for Bel Air School to be as technologically advanced as the other schools.  It is truly a benefit to us,” said Autumn Eirich, Principal of Bel Air Elementary.


This project will complete the school system’s work to connect all schools and will enable all schools in the county to meet the technology requirements necessary to implement common core standards and race to the top.  Bel Air was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2011. In addition to the 34,375 in ARC funding, Allegany County will contribute $34,375 in local funding.  


The fiber connection will Provide a 500 Megabit connection that can later be expanded without the need for additional fiber.  The fiber connection will allow for online video streaming used for testing and assessment as well as the Discovery Education video