Closes the “Digital Divide” and Increases Access to Technology and High-Speed Broadband in Hundreds of Schools Across New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced approval of 154 Smart Schools Investment Plans aimed at re-imagining teaching and learning for the 21st century. The approved plans, totaling $103.2 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 investments authorized today will modernize classrooms across New York and equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the global economy.
“By investing in modern technology for classrooms across the state, we expand educational opportunity, increase student engagement, boost achievement, and close the digital divide,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding equips students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the modern economy and build a stronger New York for all.”
The Smart Schools Review Board met today for the fifth time to consider 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 plans approved today were submitted by 136 school districts and 8 special education schools. Projects include $43.3 million for school connectivity projects, $40.6 million for classroom technology purchases, $15.6 mil lion for high-tech security projects, and $3.7 million to construct prekindergarten classrooms and to replace transportable classrooms.
A summary of the 154 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 Yorkers agreed, as the 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.
State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said, “The Smart Schools program is revolutionizing classrooms in New York and the plans approved today will advance learning, ensure connectivity, and position students for success in the economy of tomorrow.”
State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “We are making sure that our schools have the right technological tools and capacity to connect students with the world to help prepare those children for the future?whether that’s in college or the work force. Districts are making ma jor investments in school connectivity, school security, and in individual devices that will allow students to expand their knowledge, to practice skills where they need additional help, and to learn how to communicate and share their knowledge with others.”
SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “Our students are better served when advances in technology, resources, and tools get in the hands of our teachers. The governor’s ongoing investment in Smart Schools does just that, and more students continue to benefit. The financial support provided today will boost our students’ abilities to succeed in the classroom, in their future careers, and in life.”