A 1997 goal of having a networked computer in every public school classroom in Nevada is nearly achieved, a state official says.

Fred Dugger, chairman of the state’s Educational Technology Commission, said there’s one computer for every classroom—but only 70 to 80 percent of the schools are tied into the network.

Former Gov. Bob Miller, as part of a 1997 educational reform package, set the target for one computer in every classroom. So far, about $45 million has been allocated by the state for classroom technology.

Dugger told an interim legislative panel on education Nov. 28 that he hopes to have the networking finished by mid-2003. It’s completed in Clark and Washoe counties and Carson City, but some rural counties have not yet hooked up, he said.

One of the difficult tasks remaining, Dugger said, is to evaluate how much the technology has helped students. Computers are only one part of the educational program, and it will be hard to single out their impact, he added.

“We still have to evaluate this,” he told the interim study committee, headed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno.

Raggio said “great progress” has been made since he and Miller developed the reform package—although test scores of students haven’t increased.

Raggio also said his committee would work closely with the Governor’s Task Force on Taxes, which is reviewing how much money the state will need in the future and what sources of funds are available.