Board of Education approves Phase I of Smart Schools Investment Plan

Following a public hearing and 30-day comment window, the Board of Education approved the Smart Schools Investment Plan Phase I at its meeting on April 11. The district is now moving forward with submission of the plan to the State Education Department.

Phase I calls for the replacement of the district’s aging security camera system across all school buildings.

View Phase I of the Niskayuna Smart Schools Investment Plan

New York voters in 2014 approved the statewide Smart Schools Bond Act referendum, which authorizes the state to borrow up to $2 billion to finance technology improvements in schools throughout the state. Each district was allocated a certain amount to invest in technology, and Niskayuna’s portion is $1.49 million.

The use of Smart Schools funding does not require any local contribution from school districts. Phase I of the district’s plan calls for spending $488,000 to replace the security camera system throughout the district.

The state Smart Schools funding is designed for investments in four areas: high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools; learning technology equipment or facilities; construction or modernization of educational facilities; or high-tech security features such as cameras.

The district has prioritized the use of its $1,494,855 Smart Schools allocation for long-term investments that would be difficult to finance solely with local funds, rather than devices that have a relatively shorter useful life. Plans for subsequent phases are likely to be used to improve high-speed broadband and wireless internet connectivity in the schools.