SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 26
April 30, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Use of VPSA School Equipment Financing Notes Educational Technology Issue VI|
Chapter 935, 1999 Virginia Acts of Assembly (the 1998- 2000 Appropriation Act) authorizes the Virginia Public School Authority to conduct an education technology grant program in the spring of the year 2000. The total value of bond proceeds available through this program will be $64 million. The program will focus on four of the major components of the Board of Education's Six- Year Educational Technology Plan. These components include: $50 million for: a) retrofitting and upgrading existing school buildings to use educational technology efficiently; b) providing network-ready multimedia microcomputers for every classroom; c) providing a 5 to 1 ratio of pupils to network-ready microcomputers; and $14 million for: d) replacement of administrative and student management and information systems supporting data requirements associated with the Standards of Accreditation in school divisions lacking adequate systems. Grants for the three components (a through c),technology hardware, will be based on an average grant of $26,000 per school. Award amounts for the fourth component (d), administrative systems, will be calculated when the eligibility status of each school in the state has been determined. For all four components of the spring 2000 Technology Grant Program, localities are required to provide a match equal to 20 percent of all grant amounts (the total of grant amounts for components a through d). At least 25 percent of the local match shall be used for teacher training in the use of technology. The following sections provide additional information relating to the eligibility and program requirements for educational technology and replacement of administrative and student management and information systems, and the ability to reimburse local divisions for purchases made prior to the sale of the spring 2000 equipment notes. Request for reimbursement forms for the 2000 program will be provided later. Please note that expenses relating to training, lease-purchase payments, or independent consultants do not qualify for reimbursement. SPRING 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM Components a, b, and c - Technology Hardware ($50 million) It is important to remember that the primary purpose of this portion of the educational technology program is to provide for (1) networking, retrofitting, and upgrade of school buildings, (2) network-ready multimedia microcomputers for classrooms, and (3) network-ready microcomputers for student use. Substantial progress toward meeting these priorities must be demonstrated. The proceeds of the notes for this portion of the program must be used primarily for capital purchases. This requirement is necessary to ensure that on a division-wide basis a balance is maintained between the equipment and related software purchased so that the useful life of all purchases exceeds the life of the equipment notes. For example, software may have a useful life of one year, while a multimedia computer may have a useful life of seven years. Given those factors, it will be necessary for a division to spend $13 on hardware for every $1 of software purchased. In addition, software can be purchased only if it meets all of the following criteria: a) It must be an integral part of the equipment which is being purchased with the proceeds. That is, it must be necessary for the equipment to be used for the intended purpose. For instance, if equipment is being purchased for networking purposes, some software is necessary for the network to be used as planned. That software may be purchased with these proceeds. In addition, if the equipment is to be used in the classroom for instructional purposes, some instructional software will be required for the equipment to be used effectively. Again, software of that type may be purchased; and, b) The software being purchased must have a useful life of more than one year; and, c) The software must be included in the approved local technology plan. SPRING 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM Component d - Administrative Systems ($14 million) The purpose of this portion of the spring 2000 technology program is to update school division administrative and student information management systems for eligible school divisions. This program is primarily for Student Information System software at the school and/or central office; however, hardware to support the software is permissible. Purchased software and hardware must meet the following criteria: a) The software must replace an outdated existing Student Information System such as the Columbia system. b) The software must enable the school division to meet the data requirements of the Standards of Accreditation. c) Purchased hardware must be used to run the student information system software. Grants for the administrative systems program will be awarded based on the eligibility status of individual schools and school divisions. Information requested in Attachment B will be used to determine the extent of a school's or division's eligibility for and interest in this program. Eligibility will be determined by whether or not a particular school uses the Columbia system purchased by the DOE, the age of the system in use in a given school, and the ability of the school's student information system to meet the data requirements of the Standards of Accreditation. Individual award amounts will be calculated when the eligibility status of each school in the state has been determined. Since eligibility will be determined from statewide information, school divisions must complete and return all pages of Attachment B, whether or not they wish to participate in this program. REIMBURSEMENT OF PRIOR PURCHASES SPRING 2000 TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM Educational Technology and Administrative Systems Local school divisions may replace or make purchases related to components a through d (above) prior to the sale of the spring 2000 equipment notes, and use the proceeds to reimburse themselves. However, prior to paying for those purchases, the local school board must state its intention to use the proceeds of the equipment notes to reimburse that payment. This must be done through a resolution adopted by the local school board. A sample resolution is provided as Attachment A to this memorandum. Please note that localities may not reimburse themselves for project- related expenditures incurred more than 60 days prior to the adoption of the resolution. If you have questions relating to the financing or determination of qualifying reimbursements under federal or state law, please call Mrs. June Eanes, Budget Director, or Brian Logwood, Education Finance Specialist, at (804) 225-2025. Questions relating to the technology program or the items that may be purchased from these proceeds should be directed to Lan Neugent, Assistant Superintendent, Technology, at (804) 225-2855. PDS/mwc Attachments: A hard copy of this memo and its attachments will be sent to the superintendent's office.