SD2 finalizes vote to seek tech levy

2013-03-14T08:45:00Z 2013-04-04T09:46:21Z SD2 finalizes vote to seek tech levyBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

School District 2 trustees have voted 4-3 to place on the May ballot a technology levy for SD2's elementary and middle schools. 

The tech levy was initially approved by the board in a similar 4-3 vote earlier this month. The vote last Wednesday makes the move official and will put the levy on the ballot. 

Voting to place the tech levy on the May ballot were trustees Connie Wardell, Pam Ellis, Lindy Graves and Travis Kemp. Those opposed were Greta Besch Moen, Allen Halter and Kathy Aragon.

The district is already seeking a general fund mill levy that will go to hire new teachers in an effort to cut down on the district's overcrowded classrooms. 

Trustees are eager to have the general fund levy pass -- much of the district's future facilities plan hinges on the levy's success and SD2's ability to hire new teachers.

That led to much debate Wednesday night about whether now was the right time to go after a tech levy. The trustees who opposed the move felt the general fund levy would have a better chance of passing if it stood alone on the ballot. 

Wardell and Ellis spoke out passionately for the need of a tech levy. 

"We are literally a decade behind the rest of the state" in terms of technology, Ellis said.

Halter said, like all trustees on the board, he sees the need and strongly supports improving technology in the district. 

"But I disagree with the timing," he said. 

On Tuesday, community organizers launched the Yes for Kids campaign to support the passage of the levies in May. Organizers have said they're ready to support both the tech levy and the general fund mill levy. 

"We're ready to go with both because we know both are needed," said Jim Duncan, co-chairman of the Yes for Kids campaign.

 

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