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Schools may bypass voters to raise $55M in tech funds

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Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 12:14 am, Thu Feb 6, 2014.

Santa Fe Public Schools is considering a plan to bypass voters and use its authority under a state constitutional amendment to impose a property tax that would raise $55 million for technology upgrades.

The money would be used for infrastructure and to give every one of the district’s 14,000 students a laptop, iPad or tablet — despite problems with similar initiatives at districts across the nation.

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Welcome to the discussion.

11 comments:

  • Julian R. Grace posted at 12:17 pm on Sun, Feb 16, 2014.

    Logies New Mexican Posts: 47

    I do Karl. Read the rest of the comments, I think I also speak for others. It's time to return surpluses to the taxpayers. Maybe we can get Microsoft or Google to donate the computers in exchange for letting our kids play, learn and be experimented on/with through their "systems."

     
  • Doug Lonngren posted at 3:21 pm on Thu, Feb 6, 2014.

    Doug Lonngren Posts: 6

    I got one of those survey calls about technology. First off the person who called sounded like they were in high school and they could not articulate what the survey was about. All I got was "technology ... mumble... mumble... schools". I specifically asked if it would raise taxes and they said NO. Thus I indicated that I was in favor of technology in schools (which I would not have said if the true nature of the survey was revealed to me).

    Technology can be helpful, but it is never a solution. The support and training required to roll out this level of technology is overwhelming and frankly I don't believe it can be done. I might support a pilot program in 1 or 2 schools to evaluate the complexity and success of such a program.

     
  • Dieter Engelke posted at 2:29 pm on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    iknoweverything Posts: 20

    A state constitutional amendment the allows SFPS to increase property taxes. Since when does a nongovernmental entity have the right to bypass voters? This amendment sounds totally unconstitutional. A laptop or an Ipod for every child, wonder if you throw in a chicken with that?

     
  • Cate Moses posted at 2:01 pm on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    cate moses Posts: 40

    A great idea. It's been done successfully elsewhere.

    Even the polling organization hired by SFPS is out-of state, national, and not a polling organization. It is a political strategy marketing organization. How do you get taxpayers to approve a 55m tax increase? Tell them that taxpayers approve of a 55m tax increase.

    LA's disastrous laptop-for-every kid "upgrade" cost voters a mere 30 million, and SFPS, with only 13,000 students (LA: 165,000), needs 55 million? How many and what kind of computers are they buying? That's >2 million per school, or about $4,230 per kid. They must be really cool devices!

     
  • Peter McCarthy posted at 1:37 pm on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    pmccarthy Posts: 4

    In December, SFPS was contemplating a $10-11 million bond to fund educational technology. Now it seems the price has skyrocketed to $55 million and SFPS doesn't want voter approval. There has been rampant abuse of SFPS bond monies being spent for things other than what they were originally proposed for. Possibly SFPS is afraid to face the voters because of this. I think democracy works and that the community should be involved in these kind of decisions. The Affordable Housing in Santa Fe Report pointed out that 46% of all residents are "cost burden" by their living situation, spending 30 percent or their income on housing and utility costs, that single households comprise 41% of all households, and that 52% of all seniors live alone. SFPS should know imposing more taxes will be burdensome for many of our fellow citizens. I support improved technology in our schools but I think it's aloof, bureaucratic hubris that wants to do this unilaterally without going through voters. The blowback will be just more discontent with and bad PR for SFPS. Convince the community to buy in - that new tech is a necessity for our students and will be administered judiciously - and let the voters decide.

     
  • Cate Moses posted at 11:14 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    cate moses Posts: 40

    As usual, SFPS pays a "pollster" to tell them what they want to hear. And surprise! the pollster tells them what they want to hear. They paid 13k (not the 10k quoted here) for the poll. How many textbooks and pencils would that have bought for our many classrooms that have neither? Sadly, it is true that Santa Fe taxpayers always vote to throw more money at SFPS. If we had a trustworthy administration that supported learning and teaching, that would be good. But we have a corporate "reform" administration that excels only at funneling tax dollars into their own well-lined pockets and into the pockets of their out-of-state crony corporations, while vilifying teachers. Santa Feans need to wake up and follow the money.

    Laptop/tablet-for-every kid programs have been a disaster everywhere they have been rolled out.. Interesting that Boyd cites LA, whose laptop program was a huge money-sucking boondoggle. http://www.myfoxla.com/story/23579993/la-unifieds-ipad-nightmare-worsens; http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-ipads-survey-20131202,0,2314290.story#axzz2sTKkyYX6; http://pando.com/2013/10/24/uh-oh-los-angeles-school-districts-30-million-ipad-program-falls-flat/

    US kids spend 7+ hours a day in front of screens. The American pediatric association recommends not more than 2 hours, for healthy brain development. The Boyd administration would have kids playing online games and looking at porn in school all day, and teachers policing them, in their spare ! time.

     
  • Matthew Ellis posted at 10:52 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    PumpTrolley Posts: 10

    I suppose since while we are in the mode of indulging the idea of spending more of other people's money on corporation made stuff, why not consider also buying a few "build it your self" PC kits and (I know, I know, paying for staff would not be included in capital expenses), create computer clubs in the schools where kids actually learn HOW to build and program a computer rather than be passive tablet tappers. If you want to train kids for the future, teach them to be producers rather than consumers of technology.

     
  • Matthew Ellis posted at 10:02 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    PumpTrolley Posts: 10

    The critical point here is more CAPITAL EXTRACTION, from a macroeconomic perspective. Yet more local money will be removed from the pockets and bank accounts of the community to pay for computers manufactured overseas, and possibly to a vendor not even located in New Mexico, to educate our children for a future of what? How to post Selfies 101?, because there are no jobs for the average highly skilled recent college graduate? Don't misunderstand me, as a parent with a child in SFPS, I fully embrace improving our kids' tech skills, and would like to see better tech in the classroom, but at what cost? The average middle class home owner in Santa Fe is being crushed by the cost of living here, because it is out-pacing wage tolerance. While it is not germane to the school board's oversight, we have a serious problem in Santa Fe with wage stagnation and frankly, average property owners, while they may want the best for the kids, cannot afford another tax increase without a serious increase in local middle class wages and the attraction of more good wage paying jobs to Santa Fe. We really are living in a bubble of denial.

     
  • Peter Neal posted at 9:12 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    PeterNeal Posts: 90

    Funny, Karl, I have NEVER seen my property taxes go down.
    Throwing more money at education does not necessarily make for better educated students- witness many other States that spend less per student and get better results.

     
  • Karl Anderson posted at 6:50 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    Mal Adept Posts: 14

    Speak for yourself, Julian R. Grace. It takes money to make money. Tax money spent on education now will pay off later in greater earning power for SFPS graduates, who will pay higher taxes to the city and the state. That might even reduce your taxes!

    "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." --Derek Bok

     
  • Julian R. Grace posted at 5:51 am on Wed, Feb 5, 2014.

    Logies New Mexican Posts: 47

    We, the other 80,000 property owners and voters do not support any more tax increases!

     
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