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State initiative lands city schools $383M for tech

New York Teacher
Minority students learning on laptop computers

New York City schools will receive another $383 million for new technology and needed improvements in the coming year, thanks to the Smart Schools Bond Act, a UFT-backed measure approved by voters in 2014.

On Dec. 3, 2018, the review board created by that act approved almost $416 million in technology updates statewide. The new infusion of funding for New York City nearly doubles the funds the city has received to date through the initiative.

“We supported the Smart School Bond Act to help upgrade our schools’ technology and pay for needed improvements, such as getting rid of antiquated school trailers,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “Our teachers, students and families will be relieved that those resources are starting to flow.”

Out of the funding slated for New York City schools, $250 million will pay for expanding and upgrading schools’ digital networks and enhance wired and wireless broadband connectivity. Another $133 million will fund learning devices for the classroom, including laptops, desktop computers, tablets and charging carts. Schools identified by the state as struggling or persistently struggling will be given priority for the upgrades.

The Smart Schools Review Board, made up of representatives from the State Education Department, the State University of New York system and the state budget division, has approved nearly $1.3 billion for technology projects statewide to date, with $783 million going to New York City schools.

NY Teacher