RIDE Launches $15 Million 21st Century Technology and Equipment Fund

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Local Education Agencies across RI will be eligible for funding on a per-student basis, with a minimum award of $25,000; high-need districts receive additional funding through ‘Equity Boost’ tool

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Associate Director Tomás Ávila, and the Rhode Island Department of Education today joined Mayor Charles Lombardi and announced a $15 million 21st Century Technology and Equipment Fund during a special event at Stephen Olney Elementary School in North Providence. The initiative will provide innovative technology and equipment that fosters a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) project-based learning approach and career and technical education (CTE) pathways to ensure all students have access to high-quality learning spaces. 

“Our children will rise to the opportunities we give them. This investment ensures that schools in every single community of our state will get much-needed equipment upgrades and, in turn, give our kids the tools they need to succeed,” said Lieutenant Governor Matos. “Especially in career and technical education classrooms, where they will be able to learn in-demand job skills with the state-of-the-art tools that professionals are using right now, this program will make a major difference.”

“Rhode Island students deserve to attend schools that are warm, safe, dry and equipped for 21st century learning,” said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. “In addition to this funding, we have already invested more than $2.2 billion to transform over 200 schools across the state into 21st century learning spaces over the last four years, benefitting more than 100,000 Rhode Island students annually. I encourage all Rhode Island voters to continue this historic investment by approving a $250 million school construction bond on the ballot this November.” 

Local Education Agencies across the state, including district and charter school systems, will be eligible for funding on a per-student basis, with a minimum award of $25,000. The fund will support transitions from traditional desk-in-row classrooms to flexible, 21st Century learning spaces to better serve learners of all abilities, backgrounds and learning styles.  

"This state investment will mean that students here at Stephen Olney School – and across the state – have flexible learning spaces that foster productive educational environments,” said President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio. “I was proud to support this state funding, and I am very pleased that it is being launched right here in North Providence." 

The 21st Century Technology and Equipment Fund leverages $1 million in existing CTE categorical funding (Program Equipment Fund) with $14 million in School Building Authority Capital Funds to target investments that offer an immediate transformative effect to thousands of Rhode Island students. To help remove barriers and meet the needs of all learners, the distribution uses a new ‘Equity Boost’ tool to provide additional funding to the least affluent communities.

This includes:  

  • Central Falls
  • Pawtucket  
  • Providence  
  • Woonsocket  
  • West Warwick

Additionally, the CTE categorical funds provide a ‘CTE Boost’ to the 9 local education agencies (LEAs) that qualify. This includes: 

  • Chariho   
  • Coventry   
  • Cranston   
  • Davies Career and Tech  
  • East Providence
  • Newport   
  • Providence   
  • Warwick   
  • Woonsocket 

“Just as the workplace has evolved, the modern classroom must transform to better prepare our learners for the future,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “From collaborative desks to digital smartboards, virtual reality tools to makerspace, Rhode Island is taking bold action to transform our classrooms. I applaud these efforts and look forward to seeing the investments roll out in schools across our state.” 

“To truly transform and improve teaching and learning, we must continue to invest in our school facilities,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Through the 21st Century Technology and Equipment Fund, we are promoting creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration in our classrooms. We are proud this strategic initiative is centered on equity and will serve as a catalyst to accelerate learning across Rhode Island.” 

“This fund is an equitable evolution to the Facility Equity Initiative, providing these communities and students with innovative technology, furniture, and equipment that support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) project-based learning, improving the student’s learning environment,” said Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Associate Director Ávila. 

At the special furniture exhibition at Stephen Olney Elementary School, students demonstrated the impact of a modern learning space. 

"This additional funding will help us continue to address our commitment to provide our students with the most modern building facilities such as you see here today and classroom technology available; not to mention the $125 million dollar bond that we are asking our taxpayers to approve on November 8 for the building of our three remaining elementary schools," said Mayor Charles Lombardi

The Council on Elementary and Secondary Education approved the initiative at their October 3 meeting. See distribution breakdown. All funds must be used by June 30, 2023.

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