Port Chester schools are hoping to capture a piece of an $87 million pot of money that is available to New York schools serving low-income students to purchase new technology and software.
State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. says the funding is available as part of the settlement reached between New York State consumers and Microsoft Corporation in 2006. King said the state Education Department established the New York State School Technology Voucher Program to distribute the funds in the form of vouchers to eligible schools.
"Far too often, students in low income school districts miss out on the use of the latest technology in the classroom," King said. "Our goal is to graduate every student with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and careers. Technology is an important tool to help students reach that goal. These funds will help level the playing field for thousands of students.”
Funding will be available to eligible public and charter schools in which at least 50 percent of the attending students receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program. The voucher amounts assigned to eligible schools will be based on the total funding available and the number of applications from eligible schools.
Port Chester Schools Superintendent Edward Kliszus said the district is planning on submitting an application for the program.
Joseph Durney, Port Chester's school technology director, said the district does have several schools that are eligible for the program. Durney said he has put together a committee of school leaders to kick off the application process.
The program is designed to facilitate the transition to computer-based testing and the overall integration of technology in the classroom, King said. The vouchers, which can be redeemed for eligible products from any technology company, can be used to purchase computer hardware, software, and equipment needed for computer networks and technology infrastructure. Fifty percent of the value of a voucher will be eligible to purchase hardware; the other 50 percent can be used to purchase specific category software.