Technology & Safety Replacement Levy Election 2022

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School board approves Technology and Safety Replacement Levy election

Madison Elementary ClassroomThe Olympia School Board has unanimously agreed to place a Technology and Safety Replacement Levy proposal before voters on the February 8, 2022 Special Election ballot.

 

The proposed replacement levy is not a new tax. It would replace an expiring four-year technology and safety levy approved by voters in February 2018. The levy would raise an estimated $52.4 million over four years (2023-2026).

 

“This replacement levy proposal reflects a continuation of our strategic planning efforts to make technology accessible to all students and prepare them for success now and into the future,” said School Board President Scott Clifthorne. “It also proposes investments to enhance safety and security at every school site.”

 

Proposed Technology and Safety Initiatives

Among other things, the replacement levy would fund new and continued technology and safety initiatives including:

 

  • Touchscreen mobile computer devices -- one for every student kindergarten through grade 12 -- to use in school and take home daily. The computer would be more robust than existing student devices to support online work and research.
  • Improved walking and biking routes to school. Nearly $2 million would be devoted to improving school zone crossings and notifications, and enhancements to walking and biking routes in partnership with city and county agencies and the community.
  • Exterior safety lighting at the main entry/exit doors for all schools. Lights would be tied into the district’s safety/security systems and would alert people outside the school to potential emergency situations inside, such as a lockdown.
  • Safety vestibules in school entries where they do not currently exist. A vestibule blocks a visitor from directly entering a school once they walk through the front doors. The vestibule prohibits the visitor from going further inside the school by forcing them to enter the school office and sign in first.
  • Expansion of Internet access at home for low-income students/families. Money is budgeted to provide Internet support through the purchase of additional mobile Wi-Fi “hotspots,” which are essentially compact, portable wireless access points providing Internet access to mobile devices like a laptop. Typical Wi-Fi hotspot venues include cafes, libraries, airports and hotels; however, the mobile technology is also possible to support students at home.
  • Assistive technology devices for students with special needs, and associated staff training.
  • New and/or upgraded school and support building surveillance cameras.
  • Up-to-date classroom interactive display systems, including an interactive projector or flat panel screen.
  • Content-based software and digital resources to support district curriculum adoptions. Resources would support the selection and implementation of Social Emotional Learning/Wellness software or systems, as well as the ongoing implementation of Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety curricula at all grade levels.
  • A video conferencing system for every school in the district, including a 360-degree conferencing webcam, speaker and 70” flat panel screen on a mobile cart. This technology could support large group/classroom style mobile video conferencing, provide experiences for students to connect with people within and beyond our local community, and provide the option for schools to engage with families for conferencing purposes (when families cannot come on-site).
  • Updated audiovisual systems -- specifically specialized projectors, and audio and visual equipment, in performing arts centers, commons, auditoriums, and cafeterias.
  • A 4-year replacement cycle for school-based lab computers and staff laptops.
  • Support and training for teachers and other staff as they integrate new technology into classrooms.
  • New computer software and/or systems platforms.
  • Research and testing (piloting) of emerging technologies. This would include augmented/virtual reality, sustainable energy and other emerging concepts.
  • Green and redundant power enhancements such as solar panels for schools to provide a renewable energy source and reduce utility costs, and back-up power generation to support critical operations.
  • Upgraded infrastructure, such as wireless, switches and network security, on a standardized replacement schedule.

 

Projected Revenue

The technology and safety replacement levy projected tax rate for each of the next four years depends on the final dollar amount of assessed value of property within the school district.

 

Based on current information, the estimated tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation would be:

 

  • 2023: 92 cents
  • 2024: 98 cents
  • 2025: 90 cents
  • 2026: 94 cents

 

The above estimated rates represent between a 1 and 18 cent increase per $1,000 of assessed valuation compared to the technology and safety levy approved by voters for 2019-22. While the tax rate associated with the new Technology and Safety Replacement Levy would be slightly higher, the combined estimated district tax rate from all voter-approved levies and bonds would be lower than historical rates.

 

The combined OSD voter-approved tax rate would decrease in each of the four years of the proposed replacement levy when compared with the current tax rate, For example, the 2021 combined tax rate is $4.94 per $1,000 of assessed valuation; the rate in 2023 is estimated at $4.47 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

 

For a detailed tax rate projection analysis across several years, please view a Tax Rate Projections presentation shared at the November 4, 2021 Olympia School Board meeting. The analysis includes a summary of the amount a homeowner would pay in taxes for this measure. It also provides a detailed historical summary of other voter-approved measures.

 

Technology and Safety Replacement Levy Planning Committee

The school board voted on the replacement levy after reviewing a proposal from the district’s Technology and Safety Levy Planning Committee. The board also reviewed more than 1,850 survey responses from students, educators, family members, and other community members who answered questions about technology and safety needs.

 

The committee, made up of district employees and a parent, met in September to examine technology and safety needs and costs before submitting its proposal for consideration.

 

Questions? Email Levy2022@osd.wednet.edu

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