$2 Billion Smart Schools Bond Act Supports Classroom Technology, High-Tech Security, and School Connectivity
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 49 Smart Schools Investment Plans totaling $34 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. The program also supports installation of high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses. Together, these investments will help ensure safety, close the "digital divide" and increase access to technology and high-speed broadband in hundreds of schools across New York.
"These critical investments in modern technology for classrooms across the state will expand educational opportunity, help ensure safety, increase student engagement, boost achievement, and close the digital divide," Governor Cuomo said. "The Smart Schools program provides students with the necessary skills and technology to grow and thrive in today's economy."
The 49 plans approved today by the Smart Schools Review Board will fund projects at 46 school districts and 3 special education schools. Projects include $10.4 million for school and community connectivity projects, $9.2 million for classroom technology purchases, $7.2 million for high-tech security projects, $4.9 million to replace temporary classroom units, and $2.3 million to construct pre-kindergarten classrooms.
A summary of these 49 plans is available here.
"The Smart Schools program expands learning opportunities and provides advanced technology and connectivity in classrooms across New York, while bringing the curriculum into the 21st Century," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This significant 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 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.
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, "The plans approved today will transform classrooms into modern learning centers and prepare students to participate in tomorrow's economy. Of paramount importance, we are ensuring that every school is able to advance high tech security solutions to help ensure the safety of students, no matter their zip code."
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, "The Smart Schools Bond Act is an unprecedented commitment to modernizing schools and education. Districts have seized this unique chance to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure as well as to make security upgrades like video surveillance, emergency notification systems, and physical access controls. We continue to work with districts on a daily basis to equip classrooms with these new tools that will help students learn skills needed to succeed in life."
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said, "We are grateful for the Governor's continued support of Smart Schools, which will enable us to prepare our students for an increasingly global society. The more we keep up with advancing technologies, the better we are preparing our students with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the evolving workplace. New York State's long-standing commitment is changing our classrooms to the benefit of students and teachers across our state."
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 49 plans approved by the Smart Schools Review Board reflect many of the best practices identified by the Commission.
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