Hudson Valley school districts behind in applying for “smart schools” funding


NEWBURGH – Over 60 percent of the funds made available to Hudson Valley school districts through a $2 billion statewide “smart schools” bond issue two years ago have yet to be applied for.
Each district was allocated a set amount of money under the bond, which can be used for either one large project or several smaller ones.
An analysis by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress found that out of a total 113 districts in the region, only 70 have been approved or are under review for project funding.

School districts in some counties are further along than in others, noted Pattern President Jonathan Drapkin.
“They know the funds are there and that it’s just a question of getting the right application in,” Drapkin said. “In some we have spoken to it is also a case of state education department reviewing them and making certain that it is clear to the districts what they are looking for.”
In Putnam County, every district has an application for funds either
approved or under review. In Rockland County, 56 percent of money allocated
has been approved or applied for, and six of eight districts have submitted
applications. In Sullivan County, only two of seven districts have submitted
applications, and 10 percent of the allocated funds have been applied
for. In Ulster, no projects have been approved, although four districts
have submitted applications for projects totaling 24 percent of the allocation.
The top three uses for the bond money, according to the state ed department are classroom technology, such as tablets, whiteboards and “smart” tables and other equipment specifically for student and teacher use; school security systems, including ensuring visitors are screened as they enter school buildings; and school connectivity, including wireless access, and upgrading hardware and software. 

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