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January 21, 2014

Technology is a priority in 2014 school bond issue

NORMAN — Laptops, smart phones, iPads, apps, eBook readers, smart boards — the list goes on and on for technology used every day by students, families and businesses. Technology is an integral part of the community and allows individuals to stay connected with the world.

Norman Public Schools has recognized the importance of keeping its technology up to date, and in the 2014 bond issue, 18 percent of bond funding has been dedicated to integrating technology into the classroom.

The $126 million, five-year bond issue will be voted on Feb. 11 in two proposals. This bond issue is the largest ever proposed in the school district’s history.

Voters will be asked to approve one proposal representing $122.5 million for renovations, safety and security, technology, athletics and annual expenditure projects, as well as a separate $3.5 million proposal for transportation.

State law requires transportation be a separate proposal in school bond elections.

The $126 million bond issue is not expected to raise or lower taxes because other bonds will have been paid off by the time the new bond would hit the tax rolls.

Kathryn Lewis, director of media and technology, said the previous 2009 bond issue focused on putting technology in teachers’ hands, so teachers could have more mobility in their classrooms and use devices such as clicker technology, mobis and laptops. Now, the 2014 bond issue would place technology in students’ hands.

“We hope that by giving students technology, this will foster innovation and creativity,” Lewis said.

To determine what technology needs would need to be met, Lewis said a sub-committee was formed that included librarians, principles, curriculum staff and administration.

For several years, the sub-committee looked at survey information from parents, teachers, students and administration, as well as school districts inside and outside Oklahoma that had placed technology in students’ hands and examined research, best practices and forecast reports that look at where technology is going in the future.

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