New York schools will receive $26 million for classroom technology out of a total distribution of $45 million in state funds, the governor announced this week.
Designed to improve technology in schools across the Empire state, the funds are the first to be released from the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, which was approved in November 2014.
Receiving approval are 52 districts that submitted “Smart Schools Investment Plans” for how they intended to use the money.
Besides classroom technology, the funds will also support school connectivity ($15 million), high-tech security ($4 million) and community connectivity ($23,000). Among the technology that will be purchased: computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity.
The five districts securing the largest infusions for classroom technology are:
Lakeland ($3.65 million)
Gates-Chili ($2.98 million)
West Babylon ($1.96 million)
Fayetteville-Manlius ($1.73 million)
Starpoint ($1.59 million)
“This technology will help students to learn at their own pace, expand access to advanced courses and interactive curriculum, and enhance communication between parents and teachers,” according to the announcement on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s website.
Smart Schools funds will also facilitate necessary investments in prekindergarten classrooms, removal of classroom trailers and high-tech school security, he said.
“As technology continues to shape the landscape of our economy, we must reimagine our classrooms into modern centers of learning so that our students are prepared for the jobs that meet the demands of tomorrow,” the governor said in the announcement.
To be considered for Smart Schools funds, school districts must submit plans that are considered by a review board, which met Wednesday for the first time to approve the plans. The board is comprised of New York’s budget director, the chancellor of the State University of New York, and the state’s education commissioner.
A complete listing of which districts received funding, and for what purposes, is available here.