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Auburn School District voters to decide technology levy in February

Passage of the Auburn School District
Passage of the Auburn School District's $22 million tech levy would improve student access and options to 21st century learning tools.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Reporter staff

The Auburn School District Board of Directors on Monday agreed to set a $22 million technology replacement levy before voters in a Feb. 11 special election.

The levy provides six years of funding to take recommendations made by the 2013 Technology Citizens Ad Hoc Committee and set them in motion. It replaces the 2005 technology levy.

Auburn School District Superintendent Kip Herren said that with the levy's passage, local taxpayers' projected school tax rate would remain level, and that spells out "a good deal" for taxpayers.

"Why it's a good deal for the taxpayers is that — as per our strategies in terms of being disciplined to make sure that the tax burden remains level — we have the tech levy from six years ago, and we stretched it out over eight years and we can't stretch it anymore. And because we have retired some bonds and are retiring the capital improvement levy, we can run the tech levy.

"And actually," Herren added, "it's a big 2 cents less than the old levy on the taxing rate."

Here's what district voters may expect for their bucks:

• 24/7 access to electronic resources for students, parents and teachers that allows for differentiation of learning, programs and support

• Targeted 1:1 student device access rolled out during the course of the levy

• Wireless access in all buildings

• Technology enhancements for safety and security

• Digital devices for students and teachers to enhance high-yield strategies in the classroom

• Digital tools for teachers to use available Learning Management Systems and electronic educational resources

• A comprehensive, embedded Digital Literacy and Citizenship K-12 curriculum

• Technology to facilitate group communication and collaboration learning by students, staff and administrators

• A robust, broadband infrastructure to support various learning structures

The 40-member ad hoc committee, composed of community members, parents, teachers and staff, met this fall to create the recommendations on high-yield strategies, access for students and staff, infrastructure and funding.

The committee determined that the levy is necessary to bring 21st Century learning tools into the Auburn classroom and that it will align with the district's strategic plan, which is as follows: "Technology will be integral to administration and teaching and learning to prepare all students for career, college, and life beyond high school."

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No increase in school tax rate

(With the passage of the technology levy, local taxpayers' projected school tax rate will remain level.)

Projected school tax rate

$6.62 (School tax rate 2014)
-  .44 (Retiring bonds and capital levy)
+ .42 (Technology levy)
$6.60 (Projected tax rate for 2015)

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