NORFOLK — With COVID-19 still keeping some students at home for remote learning, Chromebooks and mobile hotspots are among the items listed on the Norwood-Norfolk Central School District’s application for funding from the state’s Smart Schools Investment Plan.
The Smart Schools Bond Act, approved by New York state voters in 2014, 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.
“It’s a way to infuse technology into school systems,” Superintendent James Cruikshank said.
The district’s portion of the state funding is $1.2 million, and their submission includes $7,800 for community connectivity and $537,810 for classroom technology, a total of $545,610. That leaves $691,187 in unallocated funds for future projects.
Mr. Cruikshank said that, while they have enough Chromebooks for students who are learning remotely, they need to keep their supply updated. Their submission includes 700 Chromebooks at $221 each, for a total of $154,700.
“We have enough Chromebooks, but we know replacement would be challenging,” he said.
They also plan to purchase 95 Dell Mobile Precision computers with performance docks, Dell monitors and Dell Pro briefcases. Those are $1,528 each, for a total of $145,160.
In addition, the plan includes the purchase of 50 Smart Boards and accessories at $4,759 each, for a total of $237,950, and 30 mobile hotspots at $260 each, for a total of $7,800.
“This is the third time we’ve done this. We thought we could increase the level of technology through different means instead of going out right away and using all that money. I’m glad we did. This bond will support not just bringing newer technologies in, but replacing aged technology. We need to keep our technology updated,” Mr. Cruikshank said.
Without the Smart School Investment Plan, he said, the cost of technology upgrades and additions would be coming out of the district’s budget. Now, he said, it’s a matter of waiting for the Division of Budget to approve the purchases and letting the district know it’ll be reimbursed.