Funding For Smart Schools Across the State Approved by the Smart Schools Review Board on Thursday
$8.5 Million Will Support Construction of Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms in the Rochester City School District
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 16 Smart Schools Investment Plans totaling $12 million have been approved as part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act - a sweeping initiative aimed at reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The Act, first proposed by the Governor and overwhelmingly approved by voters, supports investments in education technology and pre-kindergarten that will equip students with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the global economy. Together, these funds will help prepare the next generation of New Yorkers for success and help close the "digital divide" in schools across New York.
"Through the Smart Schools Bond Act, we are ensuring that all New York students have access to early education, high-speed internet and new technology, regardless of their zip code," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding will help deliver the tools and resources schools need to equip the next generation of New Yorkers to lead this state into the future."
The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the ninth time and approved investment plans submitted by 14 school districts and two special education schools located in the Capital Region, Central New York, Long Island, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley and Western New York regions. The Board is comprised of the Director of the Budget, the Chancellor of the State University of New York, and the Commissioner of the State Education Department.
The largest plan approved today is $8.5 million for the Rochester City School District, primarily for the construction of pre-kindergarten classrooms that will help students build critical skills that serve as a foundation for elementary school learning. The investment in Rochester also includes $250,000 to remove and replace temporary classroom units. Investments included in the other 15 plans include a total of $1.7 million for school connectivity projects, $1.4 million for classroom technology purchases, and $469,321 for high-tech security projects.
A summary of these 16 plans is available here.
In 2014, Governor Cuomo called for New York State to invest $2 billion in its schools through a Smart Schools Bond Act - an initiative that would finance educational technology and infrastructure, providing students access to the latest technology and connectivity needed to succeed and compete in the 21st century economy. New Yorker's agreed and voted in the Smart Schools Bond Act that November.
Following the proposal of the Bond Act, Governor Cuomo established the Smart Schools Commission to gather information on strategies for how schools can most effectively invest the bond funds. This advisory commission produced a final report recommending a focus on expanding robust broadband and wireless connectivity and utilizing transformative technologies. The plans approved today by the Smart Schools Review Board reflect many of the best practices identified by the Commission.
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, "Access to technology and pre-kindergarten impacts a child throughout his or her entire school experience. The plans approved today will help prepare students to participate in a twenty first century economy."
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "These plans were carefully crafted by the districts through a process that included parents, teachers, students and community members to put technology in the hands of students. By improving educational technology, infrastructure and security, districts are using the Smart Schools Bond Act funding to ensure that our schools have the resources and increased connectivity necessary for long-term success."
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State continues to support our teachers and students by putting technology and resources in their hands," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "It is a long-term investment necessary to help keep pace with our global marketplace where advancements are shifting the skills our students will need to succeed. My congratulations to the schools being awarded today."
With the Smart Schools Act, school districts are investing in technology such as computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity. This technology helps students to learn at their own pace, expands access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhances communication between parents and teachers. Smart Schools funds will also facilitate necessary investments in pre-kindergarten classrooms, removal of classroom trailers and high-tech school security.