Governor Hochul Announces $31.4 Million for School Technology … –

Funding Secured Through the Smart Schools Bond Act
61 Investment Plans Approved by Smart Schools Review Board
$2 Billion Smart Schools Bond Act Supports Classroom Technology, School Connectivity and High-Tech Security
Traducción al español

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the approval of 61 Smart Schools Investment Plans focused on reimagining education in an evolving age and boosting school security. The approved plans, totaling $31.4 million, are part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, a sweeping education technology program.
“Inefficient technology was a huge hurdle during the COVID-19 pandemic – perhaps nowhere more evident than in our schools – and our students’ educational and social experiences suffered,” Governor Hochul said. “This $31.4 million investment will allow students to access the technology to bring them the opportunity to learn at their own pace while providing interactive experiences both inside and outside of the classroom.”
The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the 19th 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 by the Board were submitted by 57 school districts and one special education school. Projects include $16.6 million for high-tech security, $7.2 million for classroom technology, $7.1 million for school connectivity, and $500,000 for nonpublic schools’ classroom technology and school connectivity. A summary of the plans is available here.
The investments authorized today will help ensure student safety and modernize classrooms statewide. High-tech security tools supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include entry control systems, video systems, and emergency classroom notification systems. These upgrades are critical as the State and local partners work to bolster the safety of all public spaces.
New technology purchases supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity. These tools help students to learn at their own pace, extend opportunities for interactive experiences both inside and outside the classroom, and promote parent-teacher communication. These purchases are particularly vital in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping students to learn and succeed under multiple learning models including remote learning when necessary.
New York State Division of Budget Director Robert Menga said, “As we continue to emerge from the pandemic disruptions in the classroom, the Smart Schools Bond Act is helping schools prepare students to thrive in their academic career and in the workforce. The plans approved today will enhance school security to keep children safe, while providing the technology and enhanced tools of a modern, connected classroom.”
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “We are seeing many innovative educational approaches in these plans that use technology to inspire teachers and better engage students to improve their learning experience. We continue to work closely with the other members of the SSBA Board to ensure that district plans use allocated funds in ways that benefit schools and the communities that surround them.”

SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. said, “Far too many students suffered educationally and socially during the pandemic because of a lack of reliable technology, and infrastructure to support it. In today’s classroom, notebooks, pens, pencils, and even chalkboards are not sufficient, and must be accompanied by tablets, interactive whiteboards, and other new tools. Technology is constantly evolving, and so should our schools’ use of technology to teach. For nearly a decade, the Smart Schools Bond Act has enhanced digital learning by providing students and educators the technology they need to succeed.”
Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “The number one priority for the New York State Board of Regents and Department is increasing equity for all students. The Smart Schools Bond Act is helping districts statewide to upgrade their safety and technological systems, giving parents and students greater peace of mind and expanding access to 21st Century technology that is critical in our ever-evolving economy.”
In 2014, New York State invested $2 billion in its schools through a Smart Schools Bond Act—an initiative to 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, the Smart Schools Commission was established to gather information on strategies for how schools can most effectively invest the bond funds. This advisory commission recommended 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.
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