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BC Preliminary Smart Schools Investment Plan

Filed in Archive, District News by on April 26, 2018

The Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) was approved by New York State voters in 2014 and authorized the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for students throughout the State. The SSBA requires that a Review Board review and approve districts’ Smart Schools Investment Plans before any funds may be made available for the program.

infographic with movie screen

The SSBA allocation for Bethlehem Central School District is $2,039,178.  

All districts will be required to submit a Smart Schools Investment Plan to demonstrate how SSBA funds will be used to provide the educational tools and opportunities that students throughout New York State will need to succeed in the 21st century economy. To be eligible for funding, each school district is required to:

  • Draft a Smart Schools Investment Plan (SSIP) linked to a long-range educational technology plan;
  • Involve the community in its planning; and
  • Have the Smart Schools plan approved by the New York State Education Department as part of a detailed review process.

The purpose of the SSBA is to improve learning and opportunity for public and nonpublic school students by funding capital projects to:

  • Install high speed broadband or wireless internet connectivity for schools and communities;
  • Acquire learning technology equipment or facilities, including but not limited to interactive whiteboards, computer servers, and desktop, laptop, and tablet computers;
  • Construct, enhance, and modernize educational facilities to accommodate prekindergarten programs and to provide instructional space to replace classroom trailers; and/or
  • Install high tech security features in school buildings and on school campuses, including but not limited to video surveillance, emergency notification systems, and physical access controls.

BC’s planning timeline and process

All districts will be required to submit a Smart Schools Investment Plan to demonstrate how SSBA funds will be used to provide the educational tools and opportunities that students throughout New York State will need to succeed in the 21st century economy.

  • Wednesday, April 25
    Preliminary Investment Plan presented to the Board of Education
  • Thursday, April 26
    Preliminary Investment Plan posted on district website
  • Wednesday, May 16, 7 p.m. at Bethlehem Central Middle School
    Public hearing for community to provide feedback on the plan and request for Board approval
  • Thursday, May 17
    Pending Board approval, SSBA application submitted to New York State
  • June 2018
    Begin planning for Phase II Investment

BC’s planning process for developing and submitting a Smart Schools Investment Plan (SSIP) included/will continue to include consultation with parents, teachers, students, and community members through the following ways:

  • Both building-level and district-level technology committees have discussed the need to refresh classroom interactive boards.
  • 20 high school and middle school teachers took part in a classroom pilot where each teacher: used an LCD Interactive Panel for two weeks and a Short-Throw Projector for two weeks. 
  • A presentation and Q&A session was given to the Bethlehem President’s Council (comprised of parents) on Monday, April 9, 2018. 
  • Based on the 2014-15 Nonpublic District of Attendance Enrollment Record, three non-public schools are identified as being a part of the Bethlehem School District and were given the opportunity to submit requests for classroom technology based on their enrollment with a budget of $225 per pupil. They are as follows:
    1. St. Thomas the Apostle School with the enrollment of 196 students
    2. Mt. Moriah Academy with the enrollment of 31 students
    3. Bethlehem Children’s School with the enrollment of 16 students
  • The SSIP plan will be posted on the district website.
  • A public forum will be held during the May 16, 2018 Board of Education meeting, and community comments will be considered.   

BC’s plan for funding

After examining the District’s technology need and Smart Schools Bond Allocation, and through collaborating with the Bethlehem community, it was determined that it would be best to break up the funds into two different projects known as Phase I and Phase II.

Phase I

In Phase I, we will use the initial portion of the available funds to replace classroom interactive boards in the Middle School and High School, as they are becoming obsolete and are increasingly difficult to repair. This funding will help us to accelerate the replacement of these aging classroom interactive boards, which have served as important instructional tools.  

Phase II

Phase II will include replacing aging boards and projectors in the Elementary Schools and possibly funding additional security initiatives.  Phase II planning will begin in June 2018.

Phase I Budget

BC Classroom Technology

  • (100) Interactive Boards for the Middle School – $550,000
  • (100) Interactive Boards for the High School – $550,000

Non-Public Classroom Technology

  • St. Thomas the Apostle School
    • Chromebooks – $10,950
    • Interactive Boards – $12,600
    • 3D Printer – $1,800
    • Desktop Computer – $3,488
  • Mt. Moriah
    • Acer Laptop/Tablet – $3,951
    • Promethean AB10T78D ActivBoard Touch – $1,054
  • Bethlehem Children’s School
    • Chromebook – $1,345
    • VOIP Phone – $280
    • Laptop- $1,274

Totals: $1,136,742

Unallocated Funs available for Phase II: $902,436


Professional development

BC has an established support structure for all technology given to teachers and students. Support personnel include the IT staff, high school and middle school Tech Coaches, and a part-time K-5 instructional technologist. BC is currently looking to hire a full-time instructional technologist for grades 6-12 beginning in the summer of 2018.

The venues that are available for professional development include department meetings, faculty meetings, continuous improvement meetings, after-school drop-in sessions, annual edTechTeam Capital Region Google Summit, and a two-day Tech Bootcamp in August.

It is also the hope that by installing consistent technology in all classrooms, teachers will be able to assist one another on a regular basis.


Sustaining BC’s investments

Bethlehem employs a full-time technology support staff that is responsible for maintaining all district technology.  The average lifespan of an interactive board ranges from 8-10 years, which will be taken into account as we develop a replacement schedule and incorporate the expense into the hardware allocation of the Technology budget.


Comments or questions

Community members can send their comments on the BC SMART Schools Investment Plan to:

Ray Nardelli
Director of Information Technology
700 Delaware Avenue,
Delmar NY 12054,

Or by emailing them to rnardelli@bethlehemschools.org.


More information

To learn more about the Smart Bond Act Guidelines go to: