The Education Technology (Ed Tech) K-12 Voucher Program resulted from the Settlement Agreement between California consumers and Microsoft Corporation in Microsoft Cases, J.C.C.P. No. 4106, Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, Department 305. A separate fund (termed "cy pres fund") was established with 66 2/3 percent of the difference between the Face Value Amount of the Settlement ($1.1 billion) and the amount of issued Consumer Vouchers. The cy pres fund amount, in the form of vouchers, will be offered to eligible schools through a district grant process. Although the exact amount available for the cy pres fund will not be known at the time the request for application (RFA) is available, it is estimated to be substantial, and we expect that all schools that fit the guidelines set out below will be able to obtain benefits under the program.
The cy pres amount will be in the form of 50 percent General Purpose Vouchers and 50 percent Specific Category Software Vouchers. The vouchers can be redeemed for a variety of goods and services, as described in the CDE Ed Tech Frequently Asked Questions Web page. Public school districts that have a state-approved technology plan may apply on behalf of their eligible schools. If technology plans have expired, districts and Direct Funded Charters are strongly encouraged to update their technology plans. The online Technology Plan Builder is a useful tool to develop and update their technology plan. County offices of education, direct-funded charter schools, and State Special Schools do not have to meet the state-approved technology plan requirement for the first cy pres only and can apply on their own behalf. "Eligible Schools," as defined in the Settlement Agreement, means all public kindergarten through twelfth grade schools at 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). "Eligible Schools" also include all public high schools in California that serve students from public elementary, middle, and junior high schools at which at least 40 percent of the attending students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals through the NSLP.
As per VI. Cy Pres, Sections F, I, J, and K of the settlement agreement, the California Department of Education (CDE) will be responsible for issuing the RFA, certifying voucher recipients based on criteria contained within the RFA, monitoring the program through end-of-program certification and site visitations, developing the process for determining how providers become "approved providers" for the Professional Development and IT Support Services, and posting the approved Professional Development and IT Support Services providers on the CDE Web site.
As per Section I. CC, of the settlement agreement, a Settlement Claims Administrator, selected by the Court, will be responsible for the issuing, processing, and payment of vouchers to the certified voucher recipients.
Purpose of the Program
The vouchers made available through this Settlement Agreement are to be used to assist districts with implementing and supporting ed tech that fosters effective teaching and promotes student achievement in eligible schools that serve students in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools and districts can use these funds for the Common Core State Standards by using technology in classrooms, as well as to prepare for the new online Smarter Balanced assessments.
The Ed Tech K-12 Voucher Program is platform neutral. The vouchers distributed from the cy pres fund may be used for any platform that the school or district specifies. Disbursement of the cy pres fund will be made in two disbursement cycles. The first distribution shall be made within 30 to 60 days after the last date for general public claims submission and must be redeemed by the schools within seven years after the cy pres benefits are made available. The next distribution, through a second grant process at a later date, shall be two-thirds of the issued, but unredeemed, Consumer Vouchers remaining after the redemption period has expired. Vouchers from the second distribution cycle must be redeemed within two years after the cy pres benefits are made available. Vouchers from the remainder of the first cy pres distribution must be redeemed by September 25, 2015.
This is a district grant on behalf of eligible schools. For a school or schools to be eligible to participate in the Ed Tech K-12 Voucher Program, the following criteria must be met:
- Public school serving students in any grades kindergarten through twelve
- Have a free or reduced-price lunch (FRPL) percentage of 40 percent or greater for the year prior to the grant award
- Eligible schools also include all public high schools in California that serve students from eligible elementary, middle and junior high schools (feeder schools):
- A feeder school is any eligible elementary or middle and junior high schools that resides within the regular attendance boundaries for a high school, or any eligible elementary or middle and junior high schools that has students that have enrolled in an open enrollment or magnet high school.
- Have a district technology plan that is current at the time of the application deadline for this program and has been approved through a state review process. County offices of education, direct-funded charter schools, and State Special Schools do not have to meet the state-approved technology plan requirement, for the first cy pres distribution only.
- For the remainder of the first cy pres distribution, all schools that were previously funded for the first and second cy pres are eligible for funding. If technology plans have expired, districts and Direct Funded Charters are strongly encouraged to update their technology plans. The online Technology Plan Builder is a useful tool to develop and update their technology plan. Information regarding the technology plan criteria, and instructions regarding how to submit the plan, may be accessed on the CDE Ed Tech Web page.
*FRPL percentages may be verified on the CDE DataQuest Web page.
Amount Available in Vouchers to Eligible Districts and Schools
First Cy Pres Distribution
The total amount in vouchers to be distributed will be determined based on the cy pres fund amount along with the number of completed applications from eligible entities. Data from the 2005 California Basic Educational Data System (CBEDS) will be used to calculate the per pupil voucher amount, estimated to be between $50 and $100 per pupil, depending on the total amount of funding and the total amount of completed applications. Consideration for small schools (schools with 300 or less students) will be provided. Districts may choose to target vouchers to support successful programs at specific eligible school sites included in the application. Vouchers do not have to be distributed to all eligible school sites. However, vouchers may only be utilized at those school sites eligible to receive vouchers.
Second Cy Pres Distribution
The total amount in vouchers will be distributed based on two-thirds of the unredeemed consumer vouchers determined to be approximately $18.4 million, and the unallocated amount of $7.1 million from the first cy pres distribution, for a total amount of $25.5 million. This will be allocated to eligible schools at a rate of $5.31 per student based on enrollment and free and reduced lunch data from 2009-10 data.
Remainder of the First Cy Pres Distribution
A total of amount of $188.4 million in vouchers will be distributed to eligible schools. The funding will be allocated to eligible schools at a rate of $35.98 per student based on 40 percent of the attending students being eligible to receive free and reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program based on the certified 2012-13 Census Day enrollment data. All schools that have previously been funded for the first and second cy pres program are eligible.