Griffo: Schools should have expedited access to Smart Schools Bond Act funds

With many school districts choosing to utilize a hybrid or fully remote curriculum this fall, state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, today requested that districts be provided with expedited access to Smart Schools Bond Act funds to ensure they have the proper resources at their disposal for students. 

News reports have suggested that many districts do not have the resources or means to provide the necessary technological equipment or infrastructure to the children they are responsible for educating. Further compounding the issue is the fact that districts are facing a potential 20 percent cut to their state aid due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Smart Schools Bond Act, which was approved by New York voters in 2014, provides funding for districts to finance improved education technology education and infrastructure in an effort to improve learning and opportunity for students across the state. The State Education Department’s Office of Educational Design and Technology reviews Smart School Investment Plans that are submitted by districts seeking to use Smart Schools funds for educational technology-related purchases.

“The Smart Schools Bond Act was approved by voters in an effort to narrow the technology gap that existed before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Griffo said. “That need has been exacerbated by the current pandemic and challenges facing schools. Establishing a protocol and utilizing a portion of the remaining funds within the existing bond structure for such a vital need will assure schools have the technology now for students to be successful.”