SOCSD Smart Schools Investment Plan to Boost Connectivity
On February 10, 2022, Director of Technology George Brady presented the District’s Smart Schools Investment Plan to the Board of Education for review. 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.
“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 percent 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)
FAQ: SMART SCHOOLS INVESTMENT PLAN
What is the Smart Schools Bond Act?
The Smart Schools Bond Act 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 on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The Smart Schools Bond Act (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. The SSBA requires that a Review Board review and approve districts’ Smart Schools Investment Plans before any funds may be made available for the program.
How much will SOCSD receive under the plan?
The District was allocated $1,029,143 under the SSBA. The state will reimburse the district for 100 percent of its expenses as identified in the South Orangetown Smart Schools Investment Plan. The plan is for Infrastructure Cabling (School Connectivity) and is in alignment with the district’s Capital Improvement Planning process. Smart Schools bond funds remain available until the district has used its entire allocation.
Is there any local cost associated with the SSBA purchases?
No. There is no local cost associated with purchases made under SSBA projects.
What is the timeline?
The Board of Education approved the focus of the SSBA project at its February 10, 2022 meeting. A public hearing was held during the April 19, 2022 Board of Education meeting and the Board approved the plan on that date. The District received New York State Education Department approval in March 2023. The bidding process is underway, with an anticipated construction timeline beginning in June 2023 with completion in May 2024. Most work will occur on second shift schedule.