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A timely technology voucher for low-income state schools

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A large number of schools across the state will receive $87 million to be used for technology. The state Education Department announced that low-income public and charter schools will be receiving a voucher that can be used to purchase computer software, hardware and equipment needed for computer networks and technology infrastructure.

The funding is being channeled to schools across the state as part of a settlement reached between the Education Department andthe Microsoft Corporation in 2006.*

State Education Department Spokesman Tom Dunn says the money’s arriving at a good time.

“New York’s exams are going to be moving to a computer platform. Schools need to put in place the technology that will allow children to do their tests on computers and this $87 million is going to go a long way,” said Dunn.

Dunn says schools will be eligible for the funds if 50 percent of their students receive subsidized lunches. The amount of money each school receives will be based on the total funding available, and the number of applications from eligible schools.

“The education system in our state, in fact across the country is challenged financially. It’s certainly good news for a change to say that there’s more money coming and this settlement is going to bring money to the schools where it’s needed most,” said Dunn.

Some schools in western New York receiving the award include: South Park High School, Waterfront Elementary, Dr. Charles R. Drew Science Magnet, Lafayette High School, International School, Native American Magnet, Community Charter School and Pinnacle Charter School.

A complete list of all the schools already receiving funds can be found on the New York State Education Department website. If your school is not listed, districts can still apply to see if they’re eligible for the voucher. The guidelines and requirements can also be found on NYSED.gov.

*The New York State School Technology Voucher Program resulted from the Settlement Agreement (2.38MB) between New York State consumers and Microsoft Corporation with the Case No. 10519300 (N.Y. sup. Ct.). A separate fund (termed "Cy Pres Fund") was established with 50 percent of the difference between the Face Value Amount of the Settlement and the amount of issued Consumer Vouchers. The Cy Pres Fund amount ($87 million), in the form of vouchers, will be offered to eligible public school districts (on behalf of their eligible public schools) and to eligible charter schools.

WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.