New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has approved 59 Smart Schools Investment Plans, which are focused on modernizing school technology and boosting school security.

The approved plans, totaling $27 million, are part of the 2014 Smart Schools Bond Act, a $2 billion bond program to finance educational technology and infrastructure.

“Providing our students the opportunity to learn with cutting-edge technology is essential to prepare them for the workforce of the future,” Governor Hochul said. “These investments not only provide a safer learning environment, but will give our students a greater understanding of the utilities available to them in the world they will graduate into.”

The plans approved by the state were submitted by 53 school districts and two special education schools. In a press release, the governor’s office noted that projects include $21 million for high-tech security, $4.4 million for classroom technology, $1 million for prekindergarten classrooms, $604,000 for school connectivity, and $37,000 for nonpublic schools’ classroom technology and school connectivity.

“For nearly a decade, schools across the State have benefitted from the resources provided by the SSBA – and the plans we approved today will help even more districts as they address the rapidly changing technology and security needs of their students and educational communities,” Department of Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said.

“Technology enhancements have been a real game-changer for New York’s teachers, students, and families. Innovative technologies can foster improved teaching and learning and make our schools safer as well,” Rosa added. “Tomorrow’s groundbreaking technologies will be created by today’s students, so let’s continue to give them the tools and resources they need to lead us into the future.”

The Smart Schools Bond Act specifies what schools can request as part of their Smart Schools Investment Plan. New technology purchases supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include computer servers, interactive whiteboards, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and high-speed broadband and wireless connectivity. High-tech security tools supported by the Smart Schools Bond Act include entry control systems, video systems, and emergency classroom notification systems.

“The Smart Schools Bond Act modernizes outdated classrooms and also enhances school safety. By continuing these investments in IT infrastructure and technology in our schools, our students will grow and develop in the digital age safely,” Division of Budget Director Blake Washington said.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs