On election day, voters in the Osseo School District will be asked to decide a proposed $50 million levy aimed at bringing the latest technology into the classroom.
If approved, the 10-year technology levy will provide the district with $5 million per year to increase access to classroom technology via wireless devices like tablets, laptops, and other mobile electronics.
"We just need to modernize," said Tim Wilson, Chief Technology Officer for the Osseo School District. "We need to get more technology into the hands of students and teachers for day–to–day instruction."
According to district officials, the levy would also expand technology in the district by making improvements to the infrastructure and by bolstering teacher traning.
While district officials say many students are now bringing their own mobile devices into the classroom for research, it's the school's computer lab that still serves as the main destination for screen-time instruction.
"It's not spontaneous, they can't work together in groups, and we have one computer lab for 30 classrooms," said Mark French, Principal at Rice Lake Elementary in Maple Grove. "We want our students to be prepared and have the same advantages as kids from neighboring districts and surrounding districts, that's who are students are competing with."
School officials say the investment in technology won't necessarily cover iPads or other devices for every student in every classroom, but bringing some new portable devices into the classroom will help mirror the real world in which these students live.
"The world we live in is technology everywhere, it's around us all the time," said Wilson.
The technology levy would cost an average homeowner with a $190,000 house about six additional dollars each month.
Alexandra Renslo reporting
October 24, 2012