Port Angeles School Board to consider technology levy

PORT ANGELES — The School Board will consider whether to hold a special election to levy funds for technology at its meeting tonight at 7 p.m.

The resolution for a four-year levy under consideration suggests a rate of $0.46 per $1,000 assessed valuation in 2009 in order to levy about $1.6 million that year.

The owner of a $200,000 home would pay $92 a year toward the levy.

The levy revenue would be used for technology equipment such as computers, video conferencing equipment and wireless access, and training for staff.

“I think what the committee came up with is reasonable and predictable,” Superintendent Gary Cohn said.

“I’m a firm believer that integrating technology into our curriculum is absolutely necessary for students to be competitive once they leave our high school.”

The levy is a result of a technology plan created by a district committee in 2007.

The plan evaluated the needs of the district in equipment and training.

The resolution to be delivered to the board today states, “A recent upgrade to the Microsoft Windows XP operating system district-wide revealed that many computer workstations have inadequate memory and processing speed to run more current versions of basic computer software.”

The last technology levy was put on a Feb. 8, 2005, ballot.

The levy received a vote of 51.64 percent in favor and 48.36 percent against.

The levy failed because levies required a two-thirds supermajority to pass in 2005.

A recent amendment that was passed by Washington voters in November allows school levies to pass by a simple 50 percent-plus one majority rather than a supermajority.

Expanded wireless access on the schools’ campuses and replacement of the server and storage replacement is also mentioned as a goal.

Other needs in the resolution include training for staff on technology and software, such as firewalls to protect the security of information and other learning software for students.

In addition to computers and related equipment, the levy would have a small budget for purchasing desks and chairs, according to the resolution.

One of the aspects of the district’s technology plan is the eighth grade technology literacy requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act.

The act requires districts to evaluate students’ technological abilities.

The three areas which the schools must address are: personal use and communication; accessing, collecting, managing, integrating and evaluating information; and solving problems and creating solutions.

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