School Finance
April 25, 2014

Fact Sheet 14-13: Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014

Source: Research and Educational Services

UPDATE

On Nov. 4, New York voters approved the Smart Schools Bond Act, providing $2 billion in funding for classroom technology and internet connectivity. How much is allocated for your local school district? Find out here:


FACT SHEET 14-13: Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014

April 25, 2014

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Eligible Recipients of Bond Act Proceeds
  • Allowable use of Bond Act Proceeds
  • Allocation Methodology of Bond Act Proceeds
  • Smart Schools Investment Plan
  • Loan of Technology to Nonpublic Students
  • SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014 ALLOCATIONS

Download full document (pdf)

Overview

The “Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014” will appear on the 2014 General Election Ballot on November 4, 2014. The Smart Schools Program and grants will only occur if the bond act is approved by the voters.

The ballot measure 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?"

The projects undertaken with Smart Schools Grants are fully state funded and there is no required local financial contribution from the school district.

Eligible Recipients of Bond Act Proceeds

School districts are recipients of these funds and districts must loan educational technology to nonpublic school students upon request.

Allowable use of Bond Act Proceeds

The funds received by the state from the bond act will be used by school districts for capital projects related to educational technology equipment, including but not limited to interactive whiteboards; computer servers; tablets, desktop and laptop computers; high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities; capital projects to construct, enhance or modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and provide instructional space to replace transportable classroom units; and capital projects to install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses.

Allocation Methodology of Bond Act Proceeds

Each school district has already been given the amount of their potential allocation from the bond act. A list of all district allocations is included beginning on page three. The state budget included a formula which was used to make district allocations and provides that each school district’s percentage of the $2 billion bond act will be based on the district’s percentage of formula school aid (excluding Building Aid, Universal Pre-k, and the Gap Elimination Adjustment) in 2013-14. For example, if a district’s school aid was 1 percent of the state total school aid then the district would be eligible for a $20,000,000 allocation (1 percent of the $2 billion) from the bond act.

Smart Schools Investment Plan

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 their plan.

Loan of Technology to Nonpublic Students

Smart Schools classroom technology shall be made available to nonpublic students who attend nonpublic schools within the school district upon their request. This loan process is consistent with existing practices of “loaning” instructional computer hardware to nonpublic students. Nonpublic students could only receive loans for classroom instructional technology such as laptops, tablets, computers, servers, and projects which expand broadband access and wireless internet connectivity.

Such Smart Schools classroom technology is to be loaned free to nonpublic students, commencing with the 2014-15 school year, subject to such rules and regulations of the Board of Regents and school districts. This loan process is similar to the existing requirements for loaning technology to nonpublic students for computer hardware.

The maximum funds which may be loaned to nonpublic students may be no greater than two hundred fifty dollars multiplied by the nonpublic school enrollment. This acts as a cap on school district technology loans to nonpublic schools but the statute also requires that districts make these loans on an equitable basis to nonpublic students within this maximum dollar amount.

SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT OF 2014 ALLOCATIONS

Download full document to see allocations (pdf)