Saturday, May 10, 2008

Edmonds levy would buy schools laptops

Laptops, carpet and mobile computer labs in south Snohomish County schools are on the line in the May 20 election. Voters in the Edmonds School District will decide the fate of a technology and capital facilities levy that would replace a levy that expires this year.

The proposed $31.5 million levy is expected to cost residents 28 cents per $1,000 of their property's assessed value. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay $112 each year.

The expiring $44 million levy cost voters 52 cents per $1,000 of the assessed value of their property.

The new levy would help replace outdated computers and buy laptops for classroom use, said Cynthia Nelson, director of technology for the Edmonds School District. The state usually doesn't pay for computers, so most districts buy their computers with levies or grants, she said. Every school in the district has at least one mobile cart of laptop computers that is wheeled into classrooms so students can use computers in their room instead of having to work in a computer lab. Additionally, around 30 percent of the classrooms in the district have a set of seven laptops for classroom use.

Most of the computers were bought in 2004, with funds from the previous technology levy. Nelson said many are having issues and need to be replaced. "We've done a lot of work to pretty much bring the Edmonds School District into the 21st century -- and renewing this levy will allow us to continue that good work at an even lower tax rate than we're currently running," she said. "It is pretty amazing if you talk to a lot of teachers, they're not real sure how they could go back to the old way of doing things."

The levy would also pay for security system improvements, roofing upgrades and changes to make schools more energy efficient.

There is no organized opposition to the levy, but a few people have criticized it online and in letters to newspapers. Although he thinks technology is important, Edmonds resident Mark Zandberg plans to vote against the levy because he doesn't like the district's management style.

"I think the levy is a fantastic thing," said Zandberg, a former planning and property management specialist for the district. "This community needs that levy to pass. However, the manner in which the district manages those funds, I can't tolerate at all. I'd rather take a hit in the short term."

Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

Kaitlin Manry

Editorial: Gee, what were they expecting the president of Citizens for Schools to say? She is clearly detached from reality if she thinks the District spends money wisely. But then, if I had three kids attending school in the District I might want lots of everyone else's money paying the way - even if a small fraction actually gets to where it needs to go.

5 comments: said...

When did we go over 80,000 page views? I missed it.

Anonymous said...

You know, that’s interesting. I never realized it’s a “Technology and Capital Facilities Levy” until just now. I’ve just been calling it the “Technology Levy”—that’s why I couldn’t figure out how “roofing upgrades” were part of a Technology request. Why doesn’t the district use money from the lease of the current Lynnwood High site to pay for their roofing upgrades? Why do they need more money? Why not use the money from leasing the property across from the Lynnwood Convention Center—or isn’t that pile of weeds bringing in any money?

Anonymous said...

Hey Tracy Greene:
Are you a Christian or just on a straight opiate? You have got to be kidding me. I wouldn't let my kid in the classroom with a person that does not have the ability to recognize danger. You strike me as a tool. We need extra classroom help to double check your work. Just another special levy, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Why is that whenever it is on the defensive, mismanagement is referred to as "management style"? There is no style in being unqualified and incompetent.

Anonymous said...

I agree there must be other ways in which to find the funds to upgrade the roofs. I also feel that if the students need laptops, let the parents supply them. It would be cheaper in the long term for homeowners, and most school property has a very short shelf-life through abuse (if it doesn't belong to you then why should you take care of it?).