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Schools eye taxes for tech
By JODY ALLARD
With the state education budget in jeopardy, Federal Way Public Schools could turn to a property tax levy to meet state-mandated technology requirements.
Currently in the midst of a three-year technology plan review, the school district is facing outmoded computers and hardware, coupled with increasingly stringent state technology standards.
Previously, the district has relied primarily on its own funding sources, supplemented with state and federal grants, to furnish schools with computer hardware and software. But, with state funds diminishing and standards increasing, administrators are discussing alternate ways to fund the upgrades the district needs to remain in compliance with technology requirements.
Although the district has historically used capital improvement funds for initial hardware purchases and network installation, we havent really put the money forth for it to be sustainable, said Sandy Nelson, director of information technology.
With educators and students increasingly reliant on the Internet for on-line attendance, assessment and administrative tasks, even maintaining the current system would place a financial burden on the district, officials said.
To meet the proposed technology guidelines currently in front of the Legislature, administrators say the district nust look for other funding sources.
One of the funding sources under discussion is bringing a technology levy before the voters within a year. The district has not previously sought a technology levy.
Administrators are slated to discuss technology funding during the Oct. 22 board meeting at 7 p.m. at Federal Way City Hall.
We have no money at all. We have computers that are, in some cases, 10 years old, said Nelson. Were really pressed to maintain at the current level. At the same time, usage and standards are drastically increasing.
While preparing the three-year technology plan for presentation to the School Board next March, administrators are searching for ways to fund the plans proposed maintenance and upgrade costs.
If we really are going to be approving a plan, the board wants you to explain to them how to fund it, said Nelson.
Staff writer Jody Allard can be reached at 925-5565 and email@example.com