Smart Schools Investment Plan

Presentation for Public Hearing, April 19, 2016

Smart Schools Bond Act Overview

  • Was approved by the voters of New York State as a ballot measure in November, 2014.
  • Projects undertaken with Smart Schools grants are fully state-funded and there is no required local financial contribution from the school district.
  •  The amount that has been allocated for Schoharie Central School District is $942,067.
  • District officials are recommending that the allocation be devoted to upgrades of classroom learning technology through the purchase of equipment and supporting software integral to the operation of the technology equipment.
  • Districts are required to submit a “Smart Schools Investment Plan” to the Smart Schools Review Board, which is comprised of the education commissioner, the state budget director, and the chancellor of the State University of New York.
  • The plan will describe how the district will use the Smart Schools Bond Act funds. In developing such investment plans, school districts are required to consult with parents, teachers, students, community members and other stakeholders.
  • The district may not receive a Smart Schools Grant until the review board approves our plan.

Objectives of Schoharie CSD’s Smart Schools Investment Plan

The proposed technology purchases will:

  • Enhance differentiated instruction.
  • Expand student learning inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Benefit students with disabilities and English language learners.
  • Contribute to the reduction of other learning gaps that may be identified.
  • Provide better overall access to information by using updated technologies and devices.

Additional Objectives of the Smart Schools Investment Plan

  • The proposed technology purchases will enhance ongoing communication with parents and other stakeholders, and help the district facilitate technology-based regional partnerships, including distance learning, and other efforts.
  • The district’s plan will provide professional development to ensure that administrators, teachers and staff can successfully employ the technology purchased to enhance instruction.
  • The plan has the aim of making our classrooms technology-proficient and able to access information on a global scale.

Smart Schools Investment Plan Information

  • Districts must contact the SUNY teacher preparation program that supplies the largest number of the district’s new teachers to request advice on innovative uses and best practices at the intersection of pedagogy and educational technology. 
  • The Smart Schools Bond Act provides that any district hardware purchases made using Smart Schools funds shall be lent, upon request, to nonpublic schools in the district. However, no school district shall be required to loan technology in amounts greater than the total obtained and spent on technology pursuant to the Smart Schools Bond Act and the value of such loan may not exceed the total of $250 multiplied by the nonpublic school enrollment in the base year at the time of enactment.
  • To ensure the sustainability of technology purchases made with Smart Schools funds, districts must demonstrate a long-term plan to maintain and replace technology purchases supported by Smart Schools Bond Act funds.
  • The sustainability plan shall demonstrate a district’s capacity to support recurring costs of use that are ineligible for Smart Schools Bond Act funding, such as device maintenance, technical support, internet and wireless fees, maintenance of hotspots, staff professional development, building maintenance, and the replacement of incidental items.
  •  The sustainability plan shall include a long-term plan for the replacement of purchased devices and equipment at the end of their useful life with other funding sources.

Process of Smart Schools Investment Plan

  • Stakeholders were involved (largely the Technology Committee members).
  • Preliminary plan was developed.
  • Posted on website for 30 days.
  • Presentation and public hearing on April 19, 2016.
  • Technology Committee reviews hearing and online comments.
  • Board of Education approval on May 10, 2016.
  • Final SSIP submitted by May 17, 2016.
  • Smart Schools Review Board approval by the end of June 2016.

Smart Schools Investment Plan Preliminary Budget

The following items and costs are preliminary and are for budgeting purposes:

  • Interactive whiteboards (Smart Boards) $404,000
  • Laptop computers and carts $171,000
  • Tablet computers (Chromebooks, iPads) $150,000
  • Desktop computers and monitors $80,000
  • Network servers $80,000
  • Document cameras $40,000
  • Special printers $17,067
  • Total: $942,067

What Happens Next?

  • The Technology Committee will refine the plan depending upon public comments and Board member input.
  • The updated plan will be electronically submitted to the State Education Department.
  • After preliminary review by the State Education Department, any necessary revisions will be made and then the plan will be submitted to the Smart Schools Review Board.
  • Once the review board has granted approval, the district will be ready to start making purchases by using the grant funding.
  • The district will submit claims electronically for reimbursement through the State Education Department portal.
  • During summer 2016, the first of many installations of the new equipment will take place and will be phased in per the plan document.