Rochester School Board Approves Technology Referendum
Last month, Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Kent Pekel presented a recommendation to the School Board that calls for a special election on a technology referendum that asks for voter authorization for the tax increase, which would remain in effect for 10 years.
The school board, which has received survey results indicating the community would support a referendum, approved the referendum that would raise $10 million Tuesday night. The funding would go towards upgrading the district’s technology and security.
The technology initiatives include security upgrades to the district’s school buildings and security upgrades for its computer networks, along with the purchase of computers and tablets for students and teachers. Pekel says the school district currently spends about $7 million a year on technology and the proposed technology levy would free up those dollars from the general fund to address other aspects of the public school system’s strategic plan.
The levy would also provide about $3 million per year for the planned technology upgrades. Documentation supplied to the school board estimates the technology levy would increase the annual property tax payment for the owner of a $325,000 home by about $135.
Voters will decide on whether or not to approve the funding increase in November. The referendum will coincide with a special election already set by the Rochester City Council for a vote on extending the city's half-cent sales tax.