IRVINE : School District to Review Computer Link Plan

School district officials will review a plan to create a schoolwide computer network today, reviving a fund-raising campaign crushed by the county bankruptcy.

The Irvine Unified School District's ambitious Foundations for the Future fund-raising drive had secured nearly half of a $10-million goal in pledges of money and materials from companies before the county's Dec. 6 bankruptcy filing. As the largest school district investor in the collapsed county pool, Irvine Unified abandoned the fund-raising campaign to focus on more pressing needs.

"The bankruptcy could not have hit us at a worse moment," said school board member Mike Regele, also president of the Foundations for the Future board. "Yet we've come through that period and we're beginning to get our feet back on the ground."

The first goal of the revised plan will be to raise enough money to create a computer infrastructure linking the district's 30 schools, Deputy Supt. Dean Waldfogel said.

"This way, as resources are available, local schools can add on computer equipment to the system," Waldfogel said.

The district now is looking to raise between $6.5 million and $7 million, an amount that reflects the lower cost of computer equipment and the sobering effects of the county bankruptcy on fund-raising prospects, he said.

The school district also is considering joining with the city and Irvine Valley College to create a community library system that would include on-line computer services.

Waldfogel said the number of homes with computers and modems is doubling every six months, indicating a growing capacity for students and parents to connect with school and college computers.

"We recognize those are locations where information resides that our students should have access to," Waldfogel said. "We're very interested in developing this concept."

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