MILTON — The Board of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), Chaired by State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, voted today to approve the establishment of the MSBA Public School Information Technology Loan Program.
The MSBA IT Loan Program will fund projects in public schools across the Commonwealth, improving the student experience though the use of enhanced technology and increased broadband access. This will support an existing information technology grant program, the Digital Connections Partnership Schools Grant (“DCPSG”) program, that is currently being managed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) and the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (“MassIT”).
“We are excited to collaborate with DESE and MassIT through this loan program,” said Treasurer Deb Goldberg. “By making these loans available to school districts across the State, the MSBA is providing assistance for much needed IT infrastructure improvements for the thoughtful use of technology to support teaching and learning.”
“We are thrilled to begin this important and unique partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to improve connectivity across public school districts in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Through a collaborative effort across the agencies, the MSBA loan program will have $50,000,000 available over a five year period. Loans will be given to approved districts, with funding up to a maximum of $2.5 million per district. Loans will be available to pay for IT infrastructure on the basis of need as determined by DESE with the total cost of procuring and installing the equipment determined by MassIT. Since the inception of the DCPSG in 2014, 247 schools from 98 districts have applied for funding, with 70 schools in 25 districts having successfully received funding.
“We live in an increasingly digital world. In order to provide a world-class education, our students and educators need access to 21st century technology. I’m thrilled that our agencies have partnered to upgrade school technology infrastructure for the benefit of our students,” said DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester.
“As the state’s lead technology agency, MassIT is well-positioned to support our public schools’ digital teaching and learning efforts. We are happy to help schools leverage the strength of the Commonwealth at the local level by providing IT expertise and economies of scale,” said Karthik Viswanathan, head of MassIT’s Office of Municipal & School Technology.
The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its 2004 inception, the Authority has made over 1,700 site visits to more than 250 school districts as part of its due diligence process and has made over $12 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects.