Grants and Other Financial Assistance Programs: FY2015
Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant
Fund Code: N/A
|Purpose:||The purpose of this competitive, matching state grant program is to assist public school districts in improving student instruction and assessment through the use of information technology, including, but not limited to, enhanced information technology infrastructure (Wi-Fi) and increased broadband access.|
||Priority shall be given to applications that:
- Maximize the access of broadband and improve the efficiency and productivity of education through the use of technology;
- Provide student access to individualized and rigorous digital learning experiences;
- Ensure that educators and administrators have the knowledge and skills to develop and implement digital learning curricula; and
- Maximize taxpayer value, student access to information technology and information technology preparedness.
||All public school districts in the Commonwealth are eligible for funding, provided that:
Charter schools are eligible to apply as long as the two eligibility criteria above are met.
- Funds are not awarded to school buildings scheduled for decommissioning or razing within 10 years from the completion of the project; and
- Projects occur only on and within publicly-owned real property maintained for the benefit of the school district.
|Funding:||A total of $5 million is available: $2 million for suburban communities, $1 million for rural communities, and $2 million for urban communities. Cities and towns will be required to contribute between 30% and 70% on a sliding scale based on their local contribution to the Chapter 70 formula. The school district may contribute matching funds from either a public or private source.|
|Fund Use:||State bond funds may be used to fund capital projects that provide high-speed broadband and/or wireless Internet connectivity for schools. Up to 100% of the local contribution (between 30% and 70% of the total cost of the project) may fund devices for students and teachers, provided that the district has a sound plan for incorporating recurring device costs into the annual operating budget. State bond funds may not be used retroactively or for devices, and any devices for students purchased or leased through the local match must meet current PARCC specifications, regardless of the district's current plans to participate in online statewide assessments.|
|Project Duration:||Upon approval through June 30, 2017|
|Program Unit:||Office of Digital Learning|
|Contact:||Andrea (A.J.) Kupps|
|Phone Number:||(781) 338-3256|
|Date Due:||Monday, November 17, 2014. Proposals must be received at the Department by 5:00 p.m. on the date due.|
Part I: Standard Contract Form and Application for Program Grants
Part II: Assurances
Part III: Required Technical Information
Part IV: Required Program Information
Attachment A: Process and timeline
Attachment B: Lists of communities and match requirements
Attachment C: Resources for developing strong digital learning programs
Online resources, including links to statewide vendor contracts
Interested districts should participate in a technical assistance webinar on one of the following dates: October 16 from 3:00-4:30 PM or October 17 from 9:30-11:00 AM. Districts that register will receive an email with details on accessing the webinar.
Additional information, including an FAQ, will be posted on the Office of Digital Learning's Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant resource page.
||Applicants must submit Parts I & II with original signatures via U.S. Mail to:|
Office of Digital Learning
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148-4906
Applicants must submit Parts III & IV via email in MS Excel and MS Word, respectively.
FY2015 (Round 1A) and FY2016 (Round 1B)
In FY2015 and FY2016, the state match provided funding for infrastructure (Wi-Fi and broadband); the local match funded a combination of infrastructure, devices for students and educators, professional development, and assistive technology.
In FY2015 ESE received applications from 247 schools (98 districts) in response to a request for proposals. Applications were scored and placed into one of three categories: Finalists, who earned the highest scores and could be funded in Round 1A; Semifinalists, whose applications required some revision; and Candidates, whose applications required substantial revision before they could be funded. In FY2016, ESE invited the FY2015 Semifinalists to apply for funding, a subset of which proceeded with projects.
Impact data from Rounds 1A and 1B is provided in the table below.
| ||Districts (#)||Schools (#)||Students (#)||Teachers (FTE)||State Funds ($)||Local Match ($)||Total ($)|