All students need access to technology to learn and be prepared for today’s careers. Yesterday, school board members approved placing a two-year $32.5-million technology levy on the November 3 ballot for Highline voters.
The $32.5-million levy would NOT increase taxes beyond the current rate, thanks to expiring school taxes. Taxpayers would see a reduction in property taxes.
The emergency transition to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated an urgent need for technology funding—for devices, connection, security, support and training.
If passed, the tech levy will provide the tools and support students need to prepare for the future. It addresses the urgent need to support students and teachers with distance learning during the pandemic. Funding technology needs helps bridge the digital divide that already existed in our community prior to emergency distance learning.
"The technology levy increases digital equity and literacy for Highline students. It’s a short-term investment in technology that will help students achieve success in school and during disruptions that require distance learning—and long after graduation," said School Board President Angelica Alvarez.
What Would the Technology Levy Fund?
Staff distributed more than 13,000 devices and 1,000 hotspots to students this spring. Many of these are aging Chromebooks. Many classroom desktop computers are also aging. Many families do not have internet access at home and are dependent on hotspots for students to do online learning.
Highline faces a period when state education funding is likely to shrink due to the economic downturn. A short-term levy would fund the following technology needs:
- Replace aging computers for teachers and students.
- Provide training and coaching to help teachers personalize student learning using digital tools.
- Distribute technology to ensure all students have internet access for learning at home.
- Update cybersecurity to protect confidential student and district data.
- Install interactive screens in classrooms to allow teachers to deliver instruction at school and during distance learning.
Staff are planning for various scenarios this fall, which include staying in distance learning and creating a hybrid of in-person and distance learning. Districts must be prepared to return to distance learning districtwide if there is a spike in the spread of the virus.
Find Out More About Cost & Impact
Visit highlineschools.org/techlevy to find out more about the technology levy that Highline voters will consider funding in the November 3 election.