96 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 96 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at improving school security and reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The approved plans, totaling $85 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"The Smart Schools Bond Act is enhancing school safety and modernizing outdated classrooms in every corner of New York State," Governor Cuomo said. "This funding expands 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, provides advanced technology and connectivity in classrooms across New York, and brings the curriculum into the 21st Century," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This significant investment for tech upgrades in schools 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 thirteenth time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. The Board is composed 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 90 school districts and three special education schools. Projects include $26.3 million for high-tech security projects, $25.6 million for school connectivity projects, $18.5 million for classroom technology purchases, $9.9 million for pre-kindergarten classrooms, and $4.2 million for the removal of transportable classroom units (TCUs). A summary of the 96 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. Additional investments in the replacement of TCUs and construction of pre-kindergarten classrooms will help ensure that students learn in modern, updated spaces.
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, "Through the Smart Schools program, we are protecting our children by supporting the installation of safety surveillance systems while also positioning students for success in our 21st century economy by revolutionizing classrooms with connectivity and the technology it supports."
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "Smart Schools Bond Act investments are allowing school districts to help students to learn at their own pace, expand access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhance communication between parents and teachers. Projects approved today include high-tech security, school and community connectivity and new or renovated prekindergarten classroom projects, all aimed at improving school security and reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century."
SUNY Chancellor Dr. Kristina M. Johnson said, "The ongoing investment in New York's schools by Governor Cuomo and his administration helps provide our classrooms and teachers with innovative technologies and access to new tools that will provide our students with the needed opportunities to succeed and excel. These resources are a necessary asset for our state's education system, as our students will develop a more robust skillset before entering the 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.