Technology pilot application deadline is 6-14

Idaho schools are running out of time to to apply for a share of $3 million in technology pilot grants.

The State Department of Education released the grant applications in early May, and the completed proposals are due via email to director of instructional technology Alex Macdonald by midnight on Friday, June 14.

Tom Luna
Tom Luna

Through Tuesday afternoon, 10 schools had applied for the technology grants, said Luci Willits, the department’s chief of staff.

Although the committee is charged with allocating $3 million in state tax dollars, the makeup of the committee and its selection criteria will not be made public until after the process is complete. Willits said department officials have chosen to keep the identities of the review committee a secret until after the awards are announced in order to “protect the integrity of the process.”

Schools – not districts – are eligible to apply for money to make infrastructure upgrades, provide professional development or increase technology.

The Legislature created the pilot program and funded it earlier this year when lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1199.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said there is no limit to the number of grants that will be awarded. But he said he hopes the pilot winners are “fewer in number and greater in scope.”

“We’re looking for models that are scalable and sustainable,” Luna told Idaho Ed News. “We’re not looking to fund pilots where we end up with a project we cannot duplicate and make scalable across the state. Then we end up creating haves and have-nots.”

Luna has said he is particularly interested in applications that would help a school advance from very little technology to a full-school deployment.

Elementary, middle school and high schools are welcome to apply for the pilot awards.

After the application period ends this week, a review panel will score the proposals with the schools’ identities concealed, Luna said.

Department leaders hope the review panel will select winners later this month and award the money in July – in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

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