SACRAMENTO - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell today urged schools to work with their district offices to apply for technology funds available as a result of a recent settlement of a lawsuit between California consumers and Microsoft Corporation.
Called the Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program, this funding opportunity directs funds to schools where at least 40 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. The program makes funds available to schools to purchase education technology, including computer hardware and software, and provide training in the use of technology in the classroom.
"The California Department of Education recently conducted a survey of technology in our schools," O'Connell said. "We found that 62 percent of computers in California schools were more than three years old. The Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program will provide a critical source of funding to replace outdated machines. This program will also help us connect more classrooms to the Internet and provide professional development for teachers so that they can make the best use of technology to support learning. I encourage all eligible schools to work with their district offices as they apply for these funds."
School districts can now access the Request for Application (RFA) on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site: http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/r5/etv06rfa.asp. All districts with eligible schools that successfully complete the application will be funded. In recognition of district staffing and time constraints, the CDE has streamlined the application process to maximize district and school participation. As a result, the RFA is very simple and designed to take only about 15 minutes to complete.
Public school districts that have state-approved technology plans may apply on behalf of eligible schools. Eligible schools are those in which at least 40 percent of the attending students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), including all public kindergarten through grade twelve schools, county offices of education, direct-funded charter schools, and state special schools. Public high schools that serve students from public elementary, middle, and junior high schools in California in which at least 40 percent of the attending students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals through NSLP are also eligible to apply for the technology funds. The schools must redeem the vouchers within six years of issuance of the voucher.
The Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program is the result of a settlement agreement from a class-action lawsuit between Microsoft Corporation and California consumers and businesses. Through the settlement, a fund was established, called a cy pres fund, to offer the vouchers to public schools that can be used to purchase computer hardware, software, or for technology maintenance, professional development or other related services. Although the exact amount that will ultimately be available in the cy pres fund is not yet known, it is estimated to be from $400 million to $600 million.
The total dollar amount to be distributed to eligible schools via the vouchers will be derived from a formula that is based on the cy pres fund amount and the number of completed applications from eligible entities.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/et/st/etv.asp.