March 4, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Millions More in Microsoft Technology Funds Available to California Schools from 2003 Settlement
SACRAMENTO—More than 8,000 California public schools and districts are eligible to share $188.4 million in Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program funds, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
The state's Education Technology K-12 Voucher Program is funded through a 2003 antitrust settlement agreement between Microsoft Corporation and California consumers and businesses. Today's announcement is the third distribution of the resulting cy pres fund. The first two distributions, in 2006 and 2010, totaled more than $269 million.
Under the terms of the settlement, these funds are to be used to assist K-12 districts with implementing and supporting education technology that bolsters effective teaching and supports student achievement.
"As we continue building momentum toward the Common Core State Standards and an era of smart new assessments, these resources come at an important time for our schools," Torlakson said. "I encourage all eligible schools and districts to use these funds to bring the Common Core to life in the classroom and to prepare for the new online Smarter Balanced assessments."
The Common Core State Standards serve as a foundation for remodeling the state's education system of teaching and learning. The online Smarter Balanced Assessment System, which is aligned with the Common Core, updates the state's outdated paper-and-pencil testing system and assesses students on their college and career readiness.
Eligible schools and districts may use the vouchers to purchase qualifying computer hardware and software, technology maintenance, professional development, or other related services listed on the Microsoft Settlement Claims Administrator's Product Eligibility Information [https://edtechk12vp.com/product.aspx] Web page. They have until September 25, 2015, to spend funds from all rounds of funding.
To be eligible for the funds, schools and districts must meet two criteria. First, the governing local educational agency (LEA) must have an education technology plan approved by the California Department of Education (CDE). LEAs that do not have technology plans have until May 15, 2014, to submit their plans to the CDE for review and approval. The California Technology Assistance Project's Technology Plan Builder [http://www.myctap.org/index.php/techplan/tpb] is a useful online tool for schools and districts to develop and update their technology plans. Secondly, at least 40 percent of the school's student population must meet the income eligibility guidelines to receive free or reduced-priced meals through the National School Lunch Program.
The CDE plans to host a Webinar later this month to help schools and districts navigate the Voucher Program processes.
The list of 8,035 eligible and potentially eligible schools and districts is available through the CDE's Remainder of the First Cy Pres Distribution Web page.