On February 10, Director of Technology George Brady presented the District’s Smart Schools Investment Plan to the Board of Education for review. (View the presentation here.) The plan, which will be entirely funded through the District’s allocation of New York State Smart Schools Bond Act funds, focuses on school connectivity–specifically, cabling and fiber to scale up technology services–and aligns with the proposed 2022 Capital Improvements Bond project scope.
The Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) was passed in the 2014-15 New York State Enacted Budget and approved by the voters in a statewide referendum held during the 2014 General Election. The SSBA 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.
“We are looking to use Smart Schools funds as an investment in infrastructure. We need technology that can grow with us,” said Brady. “The cable is 25-30 years old in some areas of our schools which cannot support higher bandwidth services. The old cable needs to be removed to free up space for new ethernet drops. Years ago, most data drops were placed in the back of the classroom, where teacher desks were located. This doesn’t work for modern instructional practices, which utilize interactive whiteboards, Chromebooks and other technologies throughout each classroom and require more flexibility. The intent behind our plan is to expand learning opportunities for our students by meeting current needs and building capacity to scale up as technologies evolve over the next 15-20 years.”
Under the SSBA, SOCSD was allocated $1,029,143. New York State will reimburse the District for 100% of the total estimated project cost described in the South Orangetown Smart Schools Investment Plan as follows:
- Remove old and abandoned network cabling ($204,493)
- Install new network cabling ($652,050)
- Install Telecommunications Grounding System to protect equipment ($80,040)
- Enhance telecommunications rooms ($92,560)
There is no local cost associated with SSBA project expenses.
The District’s plan is slated for a public hearing and Board vote at the March 31 Board of Education meeting. If approved, pending timely State review and approval, work is anticipated to begin in Spring 2023 and be completed in Fall 2023.
For additional information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions posted under District Notices on the e-Backpack webpage. Community members are invited to submit comments to Director of Technology George Brady at [email protected] or (845) 680-1010.