The Education Technology (Ed Tech) K-12 Voucher Program resulted from the Settlement Agreement between California consumers and Microsoft Corporation in Microsoft Cases, Judicial Council Coordinated Proceedings 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 California Department of Education (CDE) Ed Tech Frequently Asked Questions Web page. Local educational agencies (LEAs) that have a state-approved technology plan may apply on behalf of their eligible schools. If technology plans have expired, LEAs 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 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 Information Technology (IT) Support Services, and posting the approved Professional Development and IT Support Services providers. The application form to become a provider, and the list of approved providers, are available on the CDE Education Technology K-12 Voucher Approved Providers Web page.
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.
- 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. Information regarding the technology plan template, criteria, and guiding questions may be accessed on the CDE Technology Plans 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 of $250 million at the rate of $50.80 per pupil voucher allocation was 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) was used to calculate the per pupil voucher. Consideration for small schools (schools with 300 or less students) was provided. Of the $250 million initially distributed, $7.1 million was unclaimed for a total first cy pres distribution of $ 242.9 million. 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 distributed was 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 FRPL data from 2009-10 data.
Remainder of the First Cy Pres Distribution
A total of amount of $188.4 million in vouchers was distributed to eligible schools in March 2014. The funding was allocated to eligible schools at a rate of $35.98 per student based on enrollment data that LEAs certified in Fall 2012 in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). All schools that have previously been funded for the first and second cy pres program were deemed eligible as well as new schools that had Fall 2012 data that showed the school had 40 percent or more students that met the eligibility criteria for FRPL.
The total amount from the three distributions is $457 million.