§ 4201 Legislative intent.
The Delaware Center for Educational Technology is intended to create a modern educational technology infrastructure in Delaware's public schools for the purpose of enabling students, through the use of technology, to meet the academic achievement standards set by the State of Delaware through the Department of Education and its State Board of Education and to develop the skills needed by a world-class workforce. To these ends, the General Assembly intends for the Delaware Center for Educational Technology to concentrate on the deployment of technology at the school level in a way that will be of maximum effect in improving teaching and learning in Delaware schools. The General Assembly expressly desires to avoid the creation of bureaucracies that duplicate functions of the Department of Education and local school districts and intends that the Delaware Center for Educational Technology operate as an efficient organization making maximum use of existing staff and expertise of state agencies and school districts.
§ 4202 Delaware Center for Educational Technology.
There is hereby established the Delaware Center for Educational Technology (Center). The Center shall be a public education agency, created for the purpose of coordinating the use of technology by Delaware's several school districts, the Department of Education and any other organization, public body or other entity specifically designated by the General Assembly for the purpose of carrying out the public education of the citizens of Delaware. The Center shall be established, for budgetary purposes, in Public Education as a separate internal program unit.
§ 4203 Duties and authorities.
To achieve the purposes set forth in § 4201 of this title:
(1) The Center shall be responsible for deploying and/or assisting in the deployment of educational technology to enable students, through the use of technology, to meet the academic achievement standards set by the State of Delaware through the Department of Education and its State Board of Education and to develop the skills needed by a world-class workforce.
(2) The Center shall be responsible for providing support to the several school districts and to the Department of Education for the acquisition, implementation and operation of: telecommunications systems and networks; computers; audio and video equipment; transmission equipment and such other equipment and processes necessary to provide modern telecommunications and computing resources. The Center shall also provide support for the training of public education employees in the use, operation and maintenance of such equipment and processes.
(3) The Center shall have the capacity to sue and be sued, and the Center and its employees shall be entitled to the same privileges and immunities of any political subdivision of the State pursuant to the Tort Claims Act, Chapter 40 of Title 10.
(4) The Center shall consult with and coordinate its activities with the Government Support Services Section of the Office of Management and Budget. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, the Center shall be subject to the same procurement and purchasing policies as required by Title 29 of Chapter 69.
(5) The Center shall be subject to the provisions of subchapter IV of Chapter 63 of Title 29 [see now the Department of Technology and Information in Chapter 90C of Title 29], as directed by the Office of Information Systems. The Center shall ensure the ability of public school districts to transmit and receive information in formats acceptable to parties that require access to administrative or educational information as determined by the Governor, the General Assembly or the Department of Education.
(6) The Center, in partnership with the Department of Education and the Office of Information Systems, is authorized to establish statewide policies and procedures for the access of state-provided computer networks. This includes, but is not limited to, acceptable use and copyright policies. Statewide policies will be developed through a collaborative process involving major education constituencies. School districts may develop more restrictive policies and procedures, but school districts may not modify their procedures to bypass state requirements.
§ 4204 Finances of the Center.
(a) The Center shall be authorized to receive state appropriations, federal moneys, and local school district funding and shall follow state and federal policies and procedures for the investment of such funds.
(b) The Center shall be authorized to establish special fund accounts for the purpose of receiving donations, grants, gifts and such other contributions that may be presented to it for use in the conduct of its business, subject to approval of the State Clearinghouse Committee. These accounts shall be interest-earning. The Center may accept such restrictions as the grantor or grantors may impose; provided, however, that no such restrictions contravene the laws of the State. These accounts shall be subject to audit by the State Auditor.
(c) The General Assembly intends that any funding provided to the Center shall augment, rather than replace, funding for existing programs. Toward this end, any funds provided to local education agencies by the Center shall not be used to reduce expenditures from funds received by districts from other funding sources, including but not limited to: State appropriations, federal grants, local district funding and other nonpublic funding sources.
§ 4205 Reporting requirements.
(a) No later than 6 months after the establishment of the Center, the Center shall provide the Governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Education and the State Board of Education with the Center's initial strategic plan. The strategic plan shall include suggested performance measures and shall identify with specificity a strategy to deploy educational technology to meet the duties set forth in § 4203 of this title.
(b) On or before September 1 of each year subsequent to 1995, the Center shall report to the Governor, the General Assembly, the Department of Education and the State Board of Education on its progress toward meeting the objectives set forth in its strategic plan, on any update to its strategic plan, on the status of any of its other activities and on the disbursement of moneys for the purposes specified in this chapter. Included in this report shall be plans for future activities, with a detailed implementation schedule, cost estimates and grant/contribution projections.
(c) The Center shall provide the Joint Finance Committee with reports from time to time regarding the Center's activities and coordination with other state agencies and related organizations including, but not limited to, the Office of Information Systems, the Department of Education and local school districts. On or after 3 years from June 27, 1995, the Joint Finance Committee shall review the Center's activities and progress in meeting the objectives of this chapter.
§ 4206 Technology block grants.
This act creates a Technology Block Grant to be administered by the Delaware Center for Educational Technology (DCET) and the Department of Education (DOE). DCET shall administer a noncompetitive application process to determine grant awards to local school districts and charter schools. Funds provided by this act shall be used for the purpose of supporting the maintenance, replacement, personnel and/or contractual requirements to maintain a system of technology within the school districts. Such funding distribution shall be calculated using a funding formula based on a per pupil cost of technology maintenance. Notwithstanding the formula, each district shall be guaranteed a minimum level of block grant support. The formula developed shall be approved by the co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee. It shall be the responsibility of the Department of Education, in consultation with DCET, to receive and disburse the block grant funds. The Department shall also be charged with the authority to verify the use of the funds and shall require each school district to annually report on expenditures of the funds.