New York Governor Announces $59.9 Million for School Technology Upgrades

The $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act supports classroom technology, high-tech security and school connectivity.

New York Governor Announces $59.9 Million for School Technology Upgrades

Photo via Adobe by josephsjacobs

Albany, New York — New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced the approval of 78 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at improving school security and reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The approved plans, totaling $59.9 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 Smart Schools Review Board met for the sixteenth time to consider investment plans submitted by school districts and special education schools. The plans that were approved were submitted by 72 school districts and two special education schools. Projects include $21.2 million for high-tech security, $16.7 million for school connectivity, $14.6 million for classroom technology, $5.3 million for pre-kindergarten classrooms, $1.1 million for the replacement of transportable classroom units and $1.1 million for nonpublic schools’ classroom technology and school connectivity. A summary of the plans is available here.

According to a statement from Cuomo’s office, 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. Of the $14.6 million in classroom technology expenditures approved at today’s meeting, districts have allocated $8.8 million for the purchase of laptops and tablets, helping to provide students with the technology required to succeed as schools continue to respond to the ongoing pandemic and operate under remote and hybrid learning models.”

According to the statement, investments in high-tech school security support the purchase of new equipment, such as emergency notification systems and other safety technology. Additional investments include the construction of pre-kindergarten classrooms, which are intended to help ensure that students learn in modern, updated spaces.

In 2014, 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 York 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.

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