School districts across Wisconsin are getting $5.2 million in federal grants to improve education technology, a budget item that sometimes gets cut in tight economic times.

Gov. Jim Doyle and Tony Evers, state superintendent of public instruction, announced the federal funding on Tuesday.

The $5.2 million will fund 54 educational technology projects in 304 school districts and other educational agencies. The funding is from two federal sources, including $1.75 million under the No Child Left Behind act and the remaining $3.45 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as stimulus money.

"As governor, education has always been a top priority," Doyle said. "Through the Recovery Act , we have protected our schools in these tough times."

Locally, the Madison Metropolitan School District will get $50,000 in No Child Left Behind money and $80,000 in stimulus money.

Funding for other area districts includes $64,000 to the Monona Grove School District and monies distributed by Cooperative Education Service Agencies (CESA) to the Cambridge, Baraboo, Columbus, and Sauk Prairie districts.

"The purpose of using technology is to increase student achievement," Evers said. "We made staff development a major component of the grant competition to ensure that our teachers and school library media specialists work together to use educational technology effectively as an instructional tool."

The grants target "high needs" districts, based on income levels and federal census data.

Milwaukee Public Schools received the most grant money, totaling more than $500,000 from the two funds.

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