Viewpoint: Technology levy vital for students’ education

2011-04-11T20:39:00Z Viewpoint: Technology levy vital for students’ educationBy Duby Santee Ravalli Republic
April 11, 2011 8:39 pm  • 

The Hamilton School Board of Trustees has elected to put a Technology levy request on the ballot for the annual school election on May 3. Also on the ballot will be three open trustee positions. The three candidates will be vying for two, three-year positions. The candidates are Nancy Ballance, Jerry Jesse and Jim Shea.

The Technology Acquisition and Depreciation Levy would provide financial support for the Hamilton district's technology program. In the 21st Century, technology imbedded in the curriculum is the new basic. Critical curriculum areas such as math, science, writing and reading have web-based components built into the instructional delivery system. Annual license fees to ensure connectivity exceed $90,000 each year. Software licenses include Microsoft, education and community supports, library, business, attendance, World Book, Meal Tracker, maintenance, network fees, anti-virus and Surf Control. The latter protects our students' from the negative aspects of the internet.

The economic output of the United States has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. In 1967, the production of material goods accounted for 54 percent of the U.S. economic output. Today, development of information products, such as computers and the delivery of information services account for 63 percent of the economy. As the economy continues to shift from an industrial economy to a service economy driven by information, knowledge and innovation, providing technology education for our students is vital to their, and our, economic success. It is the responsibility of the school system, working in partnership with the local community, to produce graduates capable of filling the emerging job sectors and pursuing post secondary educational opportunities. As the nation emerges from the recession, manufacturing jobs are requiring higher level skills in technology, math and reading. Workers are being retrained to fill these positions. The Hamilton teachers need the tools to prepare graduates for this emerging economy. Last year, Hamilton High School had a graduation rate of 98 percent. Seventy-five percent of our graduates went on to post secondary schooling or training. An additional eight students joined the military. Technology literacy plays a critical role in continuing this success.

The district is requesting a technology levy in the amount of $235,000. On property with a taxable value of $100,000, the increase in tax would be about $15.50 a year. If approved, this amount would be levied each year. The funds would pay for the annual licensing fees and put the district on a five-year rotation for computers and other hardware.

The school board voted unanimously to place the Technology Acquisition Levy request before the voters. This year, for the first time, the election will be by mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters on April 18. Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on May 3. Voters may return the voted ballot by mail or place in the ballot box at the Ravalli County Elections Office at 215 S. Fourth St. beginning April 19 through May 3. A ballot box will be available at Hamilton High School, 327 Fairgrounds Road on May 3 only. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on May 3 to be counted.

Duby Santee

Superintendent

Hamilton School District 3

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