East Grand Schools’ technology budget won’t be getting a boost after voters rejected Referred Measure 3A.
The measure would have created $1.2 million in technology funds over the course of three years through a temporary increase in property taxes. Schools looked to apply those funds to providing each student with an iPad tablet computer. It would have also been used for staff training and infrastructure improvements in technology. East Grand voters rejected the temporary mill levy increase, with 56 percent voting against.
“It’s unfortunate the community doesn’t feel like education, or technology as part of education, is important,” said school board member Chip Besse, who spearheaded the committee tasked with searching out the best plan for improving technology in schools.
The economic slump of the last five years has taken its toll on school fiances. From 2009 to 2011, fiscal year spending fell by greater than 5 percent. The school district helped its budget in 2012 by receiving some back taxes and in 2013 by dipping into reserves. But its budget for technology programs was cut. Educators worry about being unable to keep students in pace with changing technology. They also said there’s currently not enough space in computer labs to accommodate student needs.
Superintendent Jody Mimmack said she looks forward to working with the district’s existing school board members and newcomers Angel DeCicco, Mike McGinley and Phyllis Price to come up with a new plan. The “no” vote means schools won’t have the funding needed to update their current computer labs and other technology systems, but they’ll keep working for more funding solutions.
“I’m not able to say right now what the long-range plan will be,” she said. “We certainly still need technology, so we’re going to have to figure out how to meet that need without this additional funding.”