Mississippi leaders have raised more than two-thirds of the private money needed to put a computer in every public classroom, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said Dec. 11.

“Giving our children access to technology today will give them the skills to compete in the labor market tomorrow,” Musgrove said.

During a news conference in his Capitol office, Musgrove accepted a $200,000 check for the program from Entergy Mississippi president and CEO Carolyn Shanks. The money is from the Entergy Charitable Foundation. The power company gave $50,000 earlier this year.

Shanks is chairwoman of the effort to raise $6 million to put an internet-accessible computer in each of the state’s 30,000 classrooms by the end of 2002. More than $4 million has been donated so far, and Shanks said she’ll continue to seek donations from businesses. She and Musgrove have traveled the state to raise money for the initiative.

Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, at the Capitol for a separate meeting, said children across the state need the latest technology to help in their education.

“There are people all the time—hospitals and places like that—throwing away computers. Maybe they can donate them to schools,” DuPree said.

Musgrove has said 6,325 new computers are being put in Mississippi classrooms this school year, and about 6,000 will be installed next year.

In August, AmSouth Bank, Union Planters Bank, and State Farm Insurance gave combined donations worth $850,000 for the computer initiative.