Schools urged to use up technology vouchers
State officials have urged school districts and charter schools to use $66 million in vouchers to buy technology before they expire next year.
The warning, issued Friday, pertains to funding remaining from an antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. One set of vouchers must be redeemed by April; the other has a deadline in September.
Most of the available dollars, $212 million, have been claimed, but substantial resources remain, including more than $10 million for the Los Angeles Unified School District, according to the state’s most recent update on unused funds. L.A. Unified’s total share of the settlement was about $37 million.
The money does not have to purchase Microsoft products, but school districts have to use their own dollars up front — a potential challenge during this period of tight budgets — then apply for reimbursement.
Some districts have exhausted their share. Compton Unified has spent all of its $1.7 million and Glendale Unified its entire $951,000.
Many independently managed charter schools also were entitled to a portion. The Gold Rush Charter School in Sonora has $1,185 unclaimed. Closer by, Gabriella Charter School in Echo Park, which specializes in dance training for elementary school students, has redeemed about $4,000 of its $6,500 allotment.
In L.A. Unified, Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights has received the most funding from the vouchers, about $281,000, according to state records. Still, the aging campus has struggled with technology infrastructure, according to school management.
The vouchers originate from a $1.1-billion antitrust settlement approved in 2004. Two-thirds of the funds unclaimed by California businesses and consumers were designated for California public schools, especially for those that serve substantial numbers of low-income students.
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