2013-02-24 / News

NL schools approves .75 mill proposal for technology

Board reduces proposed millage nearly in half, approves refinance for 2006 bonds

NEW LOTHROP – The New Lothrop School Board approved a resolution Monday to seek a technology bond from voters on May 7, but not before first reducing the plan’s cost to taxpayers. A month ago, the proposed millage was at 1.36 in the preliminary estimate, but the board was able to reduce that number to .75 mills by agreeing not to purchase everything all at once. The approved millage reduces last month’s millage estimate by 45 percent.

“Spreading out the technology purchases can work in our favor in that we can implement the new technology at a slower rate, ensuring proper training for staff as we move forward,” said Superintendent John Strycker.

The update allows for most of the technology to be purchased over a three year period (under the plan, computers would be updated every five years), allowing staff to be trained as the programs are added. By not requiring the funds for the entire plan up front, the district was able to reduce the overall cost.

The board also made some changes to the amount of technology expected to be purchased with the plan, reducing the number of mobile computer labs as well as the number of devices for unit-based one-to-one computing. The plan does not include an across the board one-to-one computing, but includes a small number of devices that high school teachers can request for their classroom to use for a short period of time.

Strycker called the plan conservative. “The technology initiative is what we feel is best for the students,” he said, explaining that the board had decided that a blanket one-to-one computing approach was too expensive for the benefit the district would receive in return.

The plan is expected to cost about $760,000.

Voters will either approve or reject the millage to fund the plan in the May 7 election. Under the 1.36 mills originally proposed, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $68 a year; under the reduced millage amount, that same homeowner would pay $37.50.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the school board approved a resolution allowing the refinancing of the 2006 facility bond. The resolution allows the district to refinance once the savings reaches at least eight percent.

The refinancing could save taxpayers between $1,541,000 and $2,579,000, depending on when during the window

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