$2 Billion Smart Schools Bond Act Supports Classroom Technology, High-Tech Security, and School and Community Connectivity
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 36 Smart Schools Investment Plans totaling $43 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 in 2014, supports investments in education technology that will equip students with the skills they need to thrive and succeed in the global economy. Together, these investments will help close the "digital divide" and increase access to technology and high-speed broadband in hundreds of schools across New York.
“Access to high-speed internet and new technology should never depend on your zip code – and with the Smart Schools Bond Act, we are expanding educational opportunity in every corner of the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will help enhance teaching and learning for the 21st century, improve educational outcomes, and prepare today’s students to be the future leaders of tomorrow.”
The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the second time and approved investment plans submitted by school districts. 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 36 plans approved today total $43 million and will fund several new projects, including $22.8 million for classroom technology purchases, $12.9 million for school connectivity projects, $5.3 million for high-tech security projects, and $2.1 million for pre-kindergarten classroom projects.
A summary of these 36 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 (SSBA) 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, “School districts are taking steps to optimize the use of Smart Schools funds in order to drive student achievement. The plans approved today are reimagining classrooms for the next generation.”
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “I am thrilled that a new round of Smart Schools funding is being announced today. These funds will enable schools to provide our students with the tools, the technology and the skills they’ll need in the classroom and beyond -- whether they go on to college or the workforce.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “An investment in Smart Schools is an investment in the success of New York’s students at every stage of their education, from cradle to career. The broader access to modern technology and infrastructure enabled by these funds will support our work to ensure that all students have the tools and resources they need to excel in school and come to college ready. Congratulations to all of the schools and programs that will benefit from these awards.”
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.
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