Northwest NEWS

February 22, 1999

Front Page

Board seeks input from public on technology levy

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   CARNATION--The Riverview School Board is waiting for more input from the community before making a decision on whether to place a $4.9 million technology levy on the April 27 ballot, according to board President Laura Ritter.

   "The board is trying to decide whether what has been presented to us is what is really needed," she said. "Also, we need to find out when the voters will be willing to pass it. We don't want to present it to the voters and get another failure."

   The board is concerned because four efforts by the district to fund athletic facilities have been defeated at the polls.

   A district technology committee, appointed by the superintendent, developed the proposal for the six-year levy. The committee is made up of community members involved in technology, parents, staff, and a board member.

   Ritter said the committee has been working on the proposal for over a year. "We have lots of minds working on it. They have taken an inventory of what we have and decided what is needed to upgrade or replace it," she said. "But we are asking them to tie it all in to the curriculum, so it won't be technology for technology's sake."

   Ritter said the district has taken a survey of students, teachers, and parents, but that the board feels that a more comprehensive community survey is needed on the proposal before making a decision. "It's not easy to get a survey like that," she said. "It's difficult and time-consuming to send out surveys and make phone calls to try to get a random sample."

   Ritter said it is clear the district is lagging in technology. "It's not a huge detriment...the staff is making up for it as best they can, but it isn't fair to the kids to do only that," she said.

   Riverview Executive Director Michael Green said that recent surveys of other districts have found that Riverview lags behind in the number of computers and those which are current. "The technology team believes that for us to prepare students for the 21st Century world we need tools and currently we don't have them." He said the so-called state-of-the-art technology at Cedarcrest is now limited to 486-based PC computers with only a few available that are up-to-date.

   At the Jan. 26 board meeting, Paul Censullo, a member of the technology committee, said that the proposal includes focusing the integration of technology to improve student learning, adding six computers per classroom, an update of all computer labs at the elementary and middle schools, audiovisual presentation capabilities, and teacher training.

   The board will discuss the technology issues on March 2 at 7 p.m.