Technology Tools for Tomorrow
I had a moment of nostalgia this weekend. I visited the office where I started my administrative career in 1991. I had to laugh because in 1991 my desk held pictures of my family, my Franklin-Covey planner and my Nortel phone. I didn’t have to make room for computer screens or a docking station because I didn’t have them. It wasn’t until later that school year that I got a desktop computer. I can’t image how I would do my work today without my laptop, iPad and smartphone. The students in our classrooms can’t imagine a life without the devices that are an extension of their reality.
Our Trustees have also witnessed this metamorphosis. That’s why they voted unanimously to ask the voters to invest in technology for students. This week, you will receive five pamphlets that also detail this information. Please share them with people you know that are likely to vote. I don’t expect you to encourage them to vote for the levy; just provide information. You can also invite them to a community meeting to be held on Thursday, April 20 at 5:30 in the Bison Beastro on South Campus. Here’s the scoop about the levy:
THE ASK: GFPS is requesting to replace a 2002 perpetual High School Technology Levy of $75,000 with a 10-year $500,000 levy to provide modern tech tools for students. This is a net increase of $425,000.
THE HISTORY: 15 years ago, our community recognized the need to invest in technology. May 2002, voters approved perpetual tech levies for both districts:
• Elementary District – $150,000
• High School District – $ 75,000
Today, Great Falls is lagging behind other communities in available tech resources. If you want to see how badly we lag behind, check out slides 5 & 6 on this powerpoint: http://gfps.k12.mt.us/sites/default/files/Technology%20Levy%20Presentation%20Final3.pdf.
THE WHAT: $325,000 would be used to replace obsolete computers and equipment, $166,500 for purchasing new technologies like Chromebooks, and $8500 for staff training.
THE WHY: The bond levy didn’t include technology funding because it doesn’t make business sense to finance computers that last 5-7 years over 20 years. We need to fix the buildings AND invest in technology to ensure students are prepared for the future.
HOW IT WORKS:
• If passed, the $500,000 high school levy would replace the current $75,000 levy for a net increase of $425,000.
• If passed, it would end in 10 years.
• If it fails, the $75,000 high school levy would continue.
• The elementary levy of $150,000 continues either way.
HOW MUCH: Estimated tax increase on the $425,000:
$100K home = $4.65/year or 39¢/month; $200K home = $9.32/year or 78¢/month
To calculate the estimated cost for your property, go here: www.gfps.k12.mt.us/content/technology-levy
Thanks for spreading the word that technology tools are needed for tomorrow.
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.