More LI funding through $2B Smart Schools effort

Smart moves: Three more Long Island school districts will upgrade their tech through Albany's Smart Schools program.

Three more Long Island school districts will receive funding for technology upgrades through Albany’s Smart Schools program.

A total of roughly $2 million will be funneled to the East Moriches, Island Trees and Manhasset school districts in the latest round of funding through Smart Schools, a $2 billion effort to close the so-called technology and broadband-access “digital divide” between school districts that are less and more affluent.

All told, approximately $38.6 million is being doled out this round, helping to fund 30 distinct plans promoting school/community connectivity ($21.4 million this round), classroom-technology upgrades ($9.3 million) and high-tech school district security ($7.9 million).

The grants announced Thursday also includes funds for Smart Schools’ first special education-focused investment: $32,000 for new classroom technology in the Mount Pleasant Blythedale Union-Free School District.

The Smart Schools Review Board reviews plans submitted by individual districts and oversees the $2 billion fund, which New York voters approved via the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014. Among the approved stipends announced Thursday was $1.53 million for the Island Trees UFSD in Levittown, with approximately $1.2 million earmarked for community-connectivity efforts and roughly $340,000 for classroom-tech upgrades.

Also scoring Thursday: the East Moriches UFSD, which snagged $116,448 for connectivity efforts and $161,175 for classroom tech ($277,623 total) and the Manhasset School District, which was granted $146,007 for connectivity programs.

In May, the Smart Schools Review Board announced a $45 million funding round that included board-approved projects in the Bellmore-Merrick ($2.05 million), Carle Place ($374,275), Cold Spring Harbor ($306,709), Island Park ($236,888), Massapequa ($2.08 million) and West Babylon ($1.96 million) school districts.

In announcing Thursday’s grants, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Smart Schools programs was providing “the tools and resources” that will “help equip the next generation of New Yorkers to lead this state into the future,” while state Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia noted “another important step toward making sure schools across New York have the technology tools and strong infrastructure they need to educate our 21st century learners.”

“These funds are being used in districts right now to make sure that our students have what they need to prepare for their futures,” Elia said in a statement.