The Pike County, Ky., school district today announced they have signed an enhanced Internet access agreement with IBM to provide Virtual Infrastructure Access desktop hosting services to the school district.

As part of the 5-year agreement, IBM will provide Pike County School District with an Internet access service that gives older PCs the ability to access the Internet and applications in a manner similar to more current systems. Schools traditionally purchase classroom PCs each year, resulting in a mix of old and new computers. There is an inherent inequality in this approach because some classrooms may have computers up to six years old while other deploy workstations that are less than one year old.

"As an educator, I know the importance of providing equality in the classroom," said Maritta Clark, CIO of Pike County Schools. "Current K-12 technology funding challenges our ability to provide equal information technology access.

"With IBM's innovative, enhanced internet access approach, the six-year-old PCs perform at the same level as the new systems and have the added benefit of delivering the district's standard desktop image on any PC or thin client device with the ability to support an internet browser."

The technology will also allow the potential for students who may be home bound and teachers who may need to work from home to have access to their work from any location with an internet connection with the same security and filtering as if they were in the classroom.

"This potential means students who may be too ill to be in the classroom can still keep up with their coursework and not fall behind their classmates," Clark said.

The agreement, supporting more than 1,400 devices, was signed in June of 2008.

"We think this is an answer to our replacement dilemma during this time of budget constraints," said Roger Wagner, superintendent for Pike County Schools. "Our district will be able to provide equitable access with our existing equipment. Now we don't have to forego our technology initiative for lack of adequate equipment."