By Neale Gulley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda school officials are hopeful the district will receive funding for technology upgrades as part of a 2006 settlement between New York state and Microsoft Corp.
State Education Commissioner John B. King announced this week that more than $87 million is available statewide for schools in low-income communities to purchase new technology and software.
While most of district won’t meet eligibility standards requiring that at least 50 percent of attending students receive free or reduced-price meals, Superintendent Greg Woytilla said some money will be available for Spruce Elementary, and possibly for Meadow school, in light of the recent closure of Gilmore Elementary.
“We will get some money toward Spruce for technology,” he said, adding the district is re-filing papers for consideration regarding Meadow.
According to King, the program is designed to facilitate the transition to computer-based testing and the overall integration of technology in the classroom.
While it’s too soon to say how much money might be available to North Tonawanda, the funds will be distributed in the form of vouchers, which can be redeemed for products from any technology company, and 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, according to the state. The amount of each voucher will be based on the total funding available and the number of applications from eligible schools. All eligible schools, however, are promised funding.
“Far too often, students in low income school districts miss out on the use of the latest technology in the classroom,” King said in a statement. “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.”Contact City Editor Neale Gulley at 693-1000, ext. 4114.