By REBECCA WEBSTER
Recorder News Staff
A recent pool of funding announced by the State Education Department may help the Greater Amsterdam School District in their transition to technology-enhanced classrooms.
Just this month, State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. announced that more than $87 million is now available for New York schools serving low-income students to purchase new technology and software.
The funding comes from a settlement agreement reached between state consumers and Microsoft Corporation in 2006, a State Education Department news release detailed.
"Our goal is to graduate every students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and careers," King said in the release. "Technology is an important tool to help students reach that goal. These funds will help level the playing field for thousands of students."
The funds are available to schools where at least 50 percent of the attending students receive free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program.
Greater Amsterdam School District Superintendent Thomas Perillo said Thursday the district is looking in to applying for a cut of the funding.
"The wave of everything now is technology and if they're going to give us money to peruse things that are going to enhance the education of the students, that's great," Perillo said.
But this isn't the first time the district is pursuing this type of grant.
In past years, Perillo explained, the district received funding in conjunction with Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES through the Education Election Technology grant.
"Out of that grant, we were able to have a technology coordinator, we were able to buy some more technology-based machines for our students, hence the iPads ... and start to have the students use those in the classroom," he said.
Part of the program's purpose is to facilitate a transition to computer-based testing.
Perillo said that although that transition hasn't really happened yet at the district, he said the funding will give them an opportunity to look further into the possibilities.
"I think the days of ordering tests from the state and the tests being secured in different areas, I think that it's coming," he said. "I think that it's a transition that many districts will go through within the next few years."