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Major technology upgrade proposed for Buffalo schools

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Buffalo public schools are proposing to spend $56 million over the next three years for major upgrades of the district's computer system and providing a computer for every student.

The money would come from the $2 billion allocated as part of the Smart Schools Bond Act that was approved by state voters.

While enthusiasm for the plan was evident, Board Member Larry Quinn offered a cautious tone.

"Is this what people are really doing around the world or can we do better?" said Quinn, who gained a promise from Superintendent Kriner Cash that independent technology experts would first review any plan.

"This is setting up for future, not just keeping the same old," said Chief Technology officer Sanjay Gilani, who seemed to welcome Quinn's challenge.

"We try our best to keep up. We work with peer groups. We love to get any expert advice we can."

Debate will likely continue as plans are worked out, though few are denying the need for the upgrade.

"We see from conversations from employers and higher education and from study after study after study, that students using technology in schools builds life-long skills and build skills that make them college and career-ready," said Instructional Technology Director William Russo.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.