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Georgia School District to Buy Gaming Desktops for Esports

Glynn County Board of Education wants to use money from the CARES Act earmarked for STEM expenses to purchase devices and equipment for esports, an extracurricular activity involving competitive video gaming.

Matt Gibala plays "Rocket League" against Penn College on Sept. 29, 2020, at Point Park’s Student Center in downtown Pittsburgh. (Emily Matthews/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Emily Matthews/TNS
(TNS) — "Are we buying video games?"

Hank Yeargan, a member of the Glynn County Board of Education, asked school administrators this question Thursday, during a presentation on a plan to purchase gaming desktops and other equipment intended to promote esports opportunities.

Yes, replied Tracolya Green, assistant superintendent. But these devices are intended to help students be competitive in a quickly changing market that offers students immense potential, she said.

The school board will vote Tuesday on whether to spend a little over $6,000 on the devices.

The devices are expensive, Green said, because of the high-functioning systems and graphics needed to participate in esports programs. The devices will also create opportunities to learn about digital and graphic design, as well as other educational programs.

"So this quote is essentially that — our official step into the 21st century with more advanced technology in Glynn County public schools," Green said. "The funds are allocated already in the CARES budget under STEM."

Esports is a GHSA-sanctioned activity that appeals to a group of students who may not be involved in other extracurricular activities, Green said. The esports industry is also growing at a rapid pace around the world.

"More people actually watch the League of Legends world championship than the NFL, the Super Bowl and the NBA championship," Green said.

In other business the school board plans to vote on two agreements that will further the reach of the Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in Georgia (L4GA) grant funds provided to the school system.

A component of the funding is meant to be dedicated to support local efforts targeted toward ages birth to 5. Preschool programs in the school system already benefit from the funding.

The school board will vote on a memorandum of understanding with the Marshes of Glynn Libraries to provide L4GA funds to expand the Take 5 program, which provides five weeks' worth of books and learning tools to preschool students. The plan is to broaden the program to include HeadStart students and home daycares.

"This MOU would allow us to support that program this year and next with up to $50,000 per year from our grant funds," said Valerie Whitehead, chief of school improvement.

The second MOU is with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Georgia and would allow the L4GA funds to go toward its Early Literacy Academy, located in the former McIntyre Court site.

The academy services children ages 3 to 5, who participate in literacy activities along with their parents.

"For the same amount, for up to $50,000 for this year and for next, we would be able to support those efforts that they have going at their Early Literacy Academy," Whitehead said.

Yeargan also proposed during the work session a resolution for the board to vote on that would voice support for the state to designate funding for an expansion of Coastal Pines Technical College's Brunswick campus.

The expansion of the campus and of Coastal Pines programming would benefit local students, Yeargan said.

The school board is set to discuss the resolution at its meeting, which will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday and will be broadcast online on the school district's Facebook and YouTube pages.

©2022 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.