LEAVENWORTH — Cascade School District directors are asking voters to approve a two-year technology levy to replace and improve outdated computer systems and other instructional tools.
Ballots will go out this week and must be returned by election day, April 17.
The district needs updated technology, software and training to fulfill its vision to create life-long learners using 21st Century skills, said Steve McKenna, district superintendent.
“Our students are connected when they step outside of schools, so they must be connected in the school, and our teachers must create content and lessons that continue to connect students wherever, and whenever they learn,” McKenna wrote in an open letter to the community this month.
The state Office of Public Instruction recently ranked each school in the Cascade district in the top 5 percent in performance among Washington state schools. Cascade was the only district in the state to receive the distinction, McKenna said. In addition, Icicle River Middle School ranked second in the state among all middle schools.
One use of the levy funds, he said, would be to buy computer labs as well as a “learning network” laboratory at the high school. The equipment would be used to create an IT Microsoft Certification program where students could earn software certification, possible college credit and experience with information technology systems.
If approved, the levy would raise $826,000 in each of the next two years by taxing property owners 42 cents per thousand dollars of their assessed property value. The levy would not be a replacement levy but would be a new tax in addition to the $1.24 per thousand they now pay for a maintenance and operation levy.
The 42 cents would, however, extend the tax amount residents had been paying on a bond debt for the Icicle River Middle School. That debt was paid off this past December. The total tax rate of $1.66 per thousand would still be the lowest combined levy and bond rate of any Chelan County school district, according to a comparison with five other school districts.
Rick Steigmeyer: 664-7151