The State of New York is looking to invest heavily in modernizing K-12 technology. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state has allocated $94 million for “reimagining teaching and learning for the 21st century.” As part of this round of funding, Cuomo approved 148 Smart Schools Investment Plans.
The funding is part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act, which was approved by New York State voters in 2014.
“As the ongoing public health crisis has shown, now more than ever we must do everything possible to help schools modernize their infrastructure and are equipped to keep students up with their studies even when they can’t be in the classroom,” Cuomo said. “With this funding, we are helping schools navigate the pandemic while expanding opportunities and providing students with the skills and technology they need to succeed in the 21st-century economy.”
The approved plans were submitted by 131 school districts and five special education schools. The approved projects include $52.2 million for classroom technology, $13.7 million for school connectivity, $24.9 million for high-tech security, and $2 million for pre-kindergarten classrooms.
“Through the Smart Schools program, we are providing the tools schools need to operate modern classrooms that students can connect with no matter where they are – all the more important as we contend with the ongoing public health crisis,” State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica said. “At the same time, new technology will enhance our school security to keep children safe when they are in the building while also positioning our students for success in the 21st-century economy.”
Under the Smart Schools Bond Act, school district IT professionals can use funding to invest in 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,” the Governor’s office said in a statement. “Investments in high-tech school security support the purchase of new equipment, such as emergency notification systems and other safety technology. Additional investments in the construction of pre-kindergarten classrooms will help ensure that students learn in modern, updated spaces.”