Ripoff or Jackpot? NY’s $2 Billion Smart Schools Bond

 

What is the Smart Schools Bond?

moneycapAccording to Engageny:

NY has approved an executive budget that allows for a November 2014 ballot referendum on a $2 billion bond to improve learning and opportunity for public school students by funding capital projects to:

 Acquire learning technology equipment or facilities, install high-speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity, and construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate prekindergarten programs.

 

All predetermined fund allocations will be approved based upon a spending plan your local district submits to Albany.

 Race To The Top… Part 2?

In 2010, NY was awarded $700 million for participation in the Obama Race To The Top program. We were promised better schools, better teachers and much more. In the end we received Common Core, Engageny curriculum and a laundry lists of expensive requirements in exchange for pennies per student.  That money is gone and the  legacy costs are now eating into local school district budgets. The Smart Schools Bond appears to follow the same lines as it is a one time cash infusion with all kinds of “valid” projects that have nothing to do with smarter schools and carry major legacy costs into the future.

 

Beyond the hype for parents and taxpayers.

NY education has historically been years behind in technology.  Not because of money but because NY always addresses  the special interests before the children. Between now and November 2014, parents and taxpayers will be told all sorts of benefits by NY politicians, the media, NYSED, teachers unions and local school districts in order to persuade them into voting yes. With the exception of your local district, not single one of those special interests really knows what these funds will be used for.  All they know is it’s a big pile of money and they will say anything for it.

Below are links to every NY district’s current spending on technology aid, state aid, pre-k aid and proposed bond allocations broken down on a per district/per student level. The numbers were obtained from NY’s 2014 Executive budget.  As a taxpayer and parent you now have a starting point to making an informed decision for your vote.

Feel free to direct your fellow parents and taxpayers to their local district page.

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