The projects undertaken with Smart Schools Grants are fully State-funded and there is no required local financial contribution from the school district. The bond was passed November 4, 2014.
What is the Smart Schools Bond Act?
The Smart Schools Bond Act is a proposal by Gov. Cuomo to fund technology and expand Pre-Kindergarten throughout the State. Each school district knows how much it will receive if the act is approved; in the case of Niagara Falls Schools, that amount would be $8.8 million. Funds would be allocated by the State; there is no local share involved.
Information from the Governor's Office explains the reasoning behind the Smart Schools Bond Act:
“It is a simple fact that disparity remains in our education system, with some schools providing tablets in the first grade and others where the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that students walk through on the way to the classroom,” Governor Cuomo said. “In the State of the State, we called for a $2 billion Smart Schools Initiative to transform our classrooms from the classrooms of yesterday to the classrooms of tomorrow."
With access to advanced technology and a more interactive curriculum in the classroom, students are more likely to successfully learn at their own pace and gain the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy. Additionally, improvements in technology can be used to increase the frequency of communication between parents and teachers, as well as offer teachers further assistance and training through online venues.
If approved by the State’s voters in November, funding from the Smart Schools Bond Act would be used for enhanced education technology in schools, with eligible projects including the purchase of classroom technology for use by students and teachers, as well as infrastructure improvements to bring high-speed broadband to schools and communities in their school district. Additionally, Smart Schools will enable long-term investments in full-day pre-kindergarten through the construction of new pre-kindergarten classroom space, replace classroom trailers with permanent classroom space and make investments in high-tech school safety projects.
The Smart Schools Bond Act will appear on the general election ballot State-wide on November 4, 2014. It will read:
“The SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014, as set forth in section one of part B of chapter 56 of the laws of 2014, authorizes the sale of state bonds of up to two billion dollars ($2,000,000,000) to provide access to classroom technology and high-speed internet connectivity to equalize opportunities for children to learn, to add classroom space to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, to replace classroom trailers with permanent instructional space, and to install high-tech smart security features in schools. Shall the SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014 be approved?"