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School technology levy now passing | ELECTION NEWS

It's still too close to call for the Federal Way School District.

As of Thursday (Feb. 11), the Federal Way School District technology levy was passing with 51.1 percent (9,625) voting yes and 9,212 (48.9 percent) voting no. Initial results on Tuesday had the levy failing at 49 percent. Election results will be officially certified Feb. 24.

The district needs only a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to pass its $26.5 million levy.

Statewide, most school districts saw their measures pass strongly, including Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Fife, Everett, Edmonds, Tukwila, Puyallup, Tacoma, University Place, Sumner and Kent.

If the levy doesn't pass, the district has already stated it will come back with another levy proposition at the next election. For the school district, there is no alternative, officials have said. Technology is required for schools nowadays, and the levy pays for such expenses not covered by the state.

The levy called for a continuation of the district's current technology levy collection, of $1.8 million a year, which would sustain the current infrastructure, maintain a 20 percent upgrade cycle and allow for a few new programs.

After the first two years, the levy would increase to collecting $4.4 million a year. Taxpayers' payments would stay the same because that is the same year that the construction bond payments would decrease.

This money will be used move the school district toward a student-to-computer ratio of 1:1, as well as keep the district's computers and technology up to date.

The full list of technology upgrades under the levy include continuing the annual upgrade of 20 percent of the district's oldest computers; an operating system upgrade (the district recently upgraded to Windows XP); portable electronic devices for students (generally just the older students require textbooks); new servers; wireless access; video projectors and document cameras; new technology for math and science classes; new software for grades and libraries; and additional technology staff.

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