COLONIE — The North Colonie Central School District Board of Education approved a plan to spend Phase II of the $1.8 million Smart Schools Bond Act on upgrading individual classroom technology.
The majority of the $461,314 expenditure is to purchase 1,421 Chromebook computers at a cost of $239 each, or $339,619, and 144 Chromebook touchscreen computers at a cost of $325 each, or $46,800.
Phase I of the SSBA included upgrading technology service throughout the district including access points at all classrooms, increased band width to all wired ports, increased band width to between buildings, the purchase of a new firewall and increased band width to the internet.
“During Phase I we did infrastructure improvements so this year we are focusing on classroom technology,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “When you look at the possibilities and the impact on student lives, it is great for them to just take out their chrome book and log onto a site and work collaboratively with other schools, work as a class or work as an individual.”
It’s not clear if the students will be able to sign out their own Chromebook to take home or if the students will need to leave them at school.
It will allow the district to provide each seventh and eighth student his or her own Chromebook, Corr said, or a “one-to-one” ratio that is the ever increasing goal of most districts in the country.
“Technology is an integral part of instruction,” Corr said. “It provides students with access to a wide variety of materials, both print and visual. They will have access to some of the greatest libraries in the world and it is such a familiar part of their world.”
Part of Phase I, he said, was to gear up the infrastructure so a number of students could sign on at one time.
Parochial and other non-public schools will also have access to some of the SSBA funding.
The Legislature approved the SSBA in the 2014-15 budget. It allows the issuance of some $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure.
Before the district can spend the money, the plan approved by the Board of Education must be reviewed and approved by the state Education Department.