What is the Smart Schools Bond Act?

The SMART SCHOOLS BOND ACT (SBBA) OF 2014 was passed in the 2014-15 Enacted Budget and approved by the voters in a statewide referendum held during the 2014 General Election on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The Smart Schools Bond Act authorized the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for students throughout the State.

How does it benefit our district?

School districts can take advantage of the Smart Schools Bond Act by investing in educational technology and certain infrastructural improvements. Smart Schools money can be used to purchase items such as:

  • Install high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities
  • Acquire learning technology equipment or facilities, including but not limited to interactive whiteboards, computer servers, desktops, laptops and tablet computers
  • Construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate pre-kindergarten programs and to provide instructional space to replace classroom trailers
  • Install high-tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses, including but not limited to video surveillance, emergency notification systems, and physical access controls

School districts can qualify for the Smart Schools money by completing the following steps as part of the Smart Schools Investment Plan (SSIP):

Identify district needs

Our district is required to conduct a well-thought-out process to determine the most effective use of these funds to address educational needs for our students. Over the years, we have invested in technology infrastructure on a regular basis to ensure that our students have access to the tools they need. Also, because our Pre-K program already has established space within the school building, the need for additional space has already been met. The district wants to invest not only in students but in our community. With this in mind, we recognized the great need for increased broadband within our school district boundaries. The SSIP was written to demonstrate this need.

Stakeholder engagement

The planning process must include consultation with parents, teachers, students and community members located within the district. Stakeholder meetings, public hearings and board meetings occurred to present the SSIP.

Board approval

The plan required board approval before being submitted to NYSED. The Board of Education approved the plan at it’s January 16, 2018 meeting and the plan has been submitted to NYSED for review and approval.