Code of Alabama - Title 16: Education - Section 16-16B-2.1 - Wireless infrastructure and mobile digital computing devices; application for funds; implementation plan

Section 16-16B-2.1 - Wireless infrastructure and mobile digital computing devices; application for funds; implementation plan.

(a)(1) Contingent on funding, during the 2016-2017 school year, local school systems may begin installing sufficient, high-quality standards-based broadband WiFi infrastructure and, where possible, mobile digital devices to enable access to digital instructional materials and, to the extent practicable, textbooks in electronic format.

(2) In order to accomplish subdivision (1), the following priorities are established:

a. Wireless infrastructure: The first priority for the expenditure of Alabama Ahead Act funds is the establishment of a high-quality, standards-based wireless local area network (WLAN) infrastructure capable of providing all teachers and students with sufficient WiFi broadband access in all classrooms and common areas of schools, where feasible as described in WIRED.

b. Standards: Local school systems shall use applicable funds to install wireless networks or upgrade existing networks to satisfy Alabama Educational Technology Association (AET) standards that include high-quality, enterprise level networking equipment.

Each regular classroom shall be equipped with high-quality wireless access for 30 to 40 devices simultaneously. Each specialty classroom, that routinely serves groups of less than 20 people, may satisfy a lesser standard.

Each cafeteria shall have sufficient wireless access for one-third of the then current enrollment of the school.

Each library media center shall be equipped with high quality wireless access for at minimum one-third of the capacity of the library media center.

Each administrative and noninstructional area of a school shall have coverage, however, high density coverage is not required in these areas.

c. Upon installation and approval of the standards-based wireless infrastructure, or upgrades of existing wireless infrastructure, local school systems may use the remaining funds available to those local school systems for the purposes established pursuant to this section and Sections 16-6B-1 and 16-6B-2. To expend these funds, an application shall be submitted to the Educational Technology Department of the State Department of Education.

d. Other network technology: If the wireless networks of a local school system satisfy the requirements of the Oversight Committee, funds may be spent to further enhance digital learning environments within the schools of that school system and may include technologies such as:

1. Support and warranty services.

2. Optional hardware and software to manage or enhance the digital learning environment.

e. Network debt. Funds may be used for retiring debt for a network brought into compliance with the standards; or, for networks previously installed that satisfy the standards established by the Oversight Committee.

(b) Any application for funds shall be submitted and signed by the technology coordinator, the superintendent, and the chief school financial officer of the local school system. The application shall include a component for the professional development of teachers.

(c) Implementation plan: School systems shall apply for their portion of the Alabama Ahead Act funding through the State Department of Education. Applications for funding shall include all of the following:

(1) Technology plan: An approved technology plan as required of all school systems as part of the Foundation Program.

(2) Infrastructure readiness report: School systems shall provide an infrastructure readiness report describing each school's WLAN as well as the systems used to manage these networks.

(3) a. Accountability in the use of funds: At least every six months until the project is complete, the State Department of Education shall provide a report to the Oversight Committee detailing the progress of local school systems in meeting the 24-month goal of a statewide implementation.

b. The State Department of Education shall include WLAN infrastructure functionality in its monitoring standards as part of the ongoing accountability of this investment.

(Act 2016-139, §2.)

Last modified: May 3, 2021