The Iowa Department of Education is getting plans in place to send money left over from the Microsoft settlement to school districts. Microsoft agreed to pay 180-million dollars into the settlement fund, and individuals and businesses had until December 14th to file a claim. Education Department director Judy Jeffrey says schools will get some of the remaining money.
Jeffrey says according to the settlement, 50-percent of the money left after the initial claims would go to the public schools in Iowa. Jeffrey says they don’t know exactly how much money is left yet, as all the claims haven’t been process. Jeffrey says the Department is estimating there’ll be around 60-million dollars left for the schools.
Jeffrey says they’ve been working with Microsoft and lawyer Roxane Conlin to come to an agreement about how the dollars will be distributed, when they will begin the process, and how long the districts have to use the funds. Jeffrey says a majority of the school districts in the state will get some of the money. Seventy-five percent of the school buildings will be eligible to use the funds.
Jeffrey says the school district will apply for the funds based on their school buildings needs, and that is based on the amount of free and reduced lunches served in the schools. Jeffrey says the schools will get vouchers instead of actual dollars. She says 50% of the money from the vouchers has to be used for hardware and software, and 50% can be used for training. Jeffrey says the schools do not have to buy Microsoft products, but will have to buy from an approved list. Jeffrey says the settlement money will fill a gap in most district’s budgets.
Jeffrey says the state and federal governments aren’t providing the technology dollars this year, so districts can really use the money for technology needs. Jeffrey says they hope to find out in May the money that’s available.