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Lawrence schools aims to enhance its digital infrastructure

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The Lawrence School District and schools within its boundaries that have filled out requests could have a total of a little more than $1 million through a New York state grant to buy technology equipment and enhance digital infrastructure.

Passed as part of the state’s 2014-15 budget, the Smart Schools Bond Act was officially approved by voters through a statewide referendum in 2014. The bond act authorizes the use of $2 billion to fund improved educational technology and infrastructure.

Projects include school and community connectivity, classroom learning technology, pre-kindergarten and transportable classrooms and high-tech security.

Lawrence has already purchased Chromebooks, laptops and BenQ flat panel screens using roughly $240,000 from the school district’s budget’s general fund, said Superintendent Dr . Ann Pedersen. The state grant will reimburse the district. 

“When the Smart Schools Bond Act was first passed the process was complicated and by the time you submitted an application the technology requested was out of date,” she said. “Now, given the real apparent urgency for technology the state is fast tracking applications and streamlined the process.”

There is more than $72O,000 available for the private schools within the school district. The Brandeis School in Lawrence responded to the survey that the public school district is required to send, but is not using its portion, Pedersen said, adding that Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School For Boys in Woodmere, the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, both in Woodmere, and Mesivta Ateres Yaakov High School in Lawrence did not respond to the survey. The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway did answer the survey, she said. The school did not return a call for comment by press time.

Lawrence schools are also planning to upgrade school connectivity with the installation and replacement of network switches and cables, along with desktop computers, machinery, printers, robotics, licenses for the software, storage carts and cabinets, and other classroom technology equipment and supplies.

As part of the state’s Smart Schools Bond Act there is a public comment portion that runs until July 29. Comments can be sent to Lawrence School District Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Jeremy Feder at jfeder@lawrence.k13.ny.us or P.O. Box 477, Lawrence N.Y. 11559.