52 Investment Plans Approved Today by Smart Schools Review Board
$2 Billion Smart Schools Bond Act Supports Classroom Technology, High-Tech Security, and School Connectivity
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced approval of 52 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at improving school security and reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The approved plans, totaling $50 million, are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act—a sweeping education technology initiative first proposed by the Governor and overwhelmingly approved by voters. The investments authorized today will help ensure safety, modernize classrooms across New York, and equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the global economy.
"The Smart Schools Bond Act is playing a critical role in ensuring school safety and modernizing outdated classrooms," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding expands educational opportunity and provides students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the 21st century economy."
"The Smart Schools program expands learning opportunities and is providing advanced technology and connectivity in classrooms across New York, while bringing the curriculum into the 21st Century," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This $50 million investment as part of the Smart Schools Investment Plans is ensuring that students have the skills they need in the global innovation and tech economy. We must continue to take steps to modernize our classrooms and give every student an equal opportunity to succeed."
The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the twelfth time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. 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 plans approved today were submitted by 43 school districts and seven special education schools. Projects include $30 million for high-tech security projects, $16.7 million for school connectivity projects, and $3.2 million for classroom technology purchases. A summary of the 52 plans is available here.
With the Smart Schools Bond 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. Investments in high-tech school security support the purchase of new equipment, such as high-resolution digital cameras to enhance districts' video surveillance capabilities, and other safety technology.
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, "The Smart Schools program is enabling school districts to install safety and surveillance systems that will protect our children while also revolutionizing classrooms to advance learning, ensure connectivity, and position students for success in the economy of tomorrow."
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "Our districts are taking a proactive approach to increase connectivity and create school climates where all students and adults feel welcome and safe. Nearly $30 million of today's $50 million will be invested in Buffalo, Syracuse and about 50 other school districts and Special Education Schools for high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses. These funds ensure that districts have the tools our students need for college, career and life and that they are safe to learn and grow."
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "Throughout New York State, students of all grades and levels deserve to have access to high quality educational experience that will help them thrive inside the classroom and beyond, and Governor Cuomo's Smart Schools program does just that. By providing classrooms with cutting-edge technology, our current and future students will acquire skills that will prepare them to flourish in our ever-changing economy and workforce. My congratulations to the schools being awarded today."
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 Yorkers agreed, as the voters authorized 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.