Hood Canal School to run levy for new technology


Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

At Hood Canal School, students and teachers are struggling to keep up with the digital age.

Of the roughly 200 computers at the small school district only a couple dozen are new er models, with most of the computers pur chased as surplus material from the state Department of Corrections and the Issaquah School District.

The Hood Canal School District plans to run a one-year levy to renovate, improve and upgrade the school's current technology infra structure, according to a release put out by the district's school board members.

If passed this November, the levy would collect 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed valu ation on a home, to be collected during the 2012 tax year only.

"We felt the one-year levy would be easier on people rather than to drag it out," said School Board Chair Judi Woodard. "Most of what we have is so old, it's hard for the stu dents to not have this new technology, and of course it's hard for the students who use them to have to take turns."

Although the board had discussed the need for new technology for some time, it hadn't come to a decision to run the levy until after the results from an online survey of the Hood Ca nal School community came out in the spring.

On the survey, the majority of parents and community members ranked adding more computers and technology in the classroom as a number one priority.

The district estimates that the cost to upgrade and replace its current equipment would be $250,000.

"This was the number one priority for stu dents to have the technology needed to move onto their studies at a higher level," Woodard said. "We did the research to find out what amount would be necessary for what we need ed to upgrade."

The state does not fund technology in the classroom, said Superintendent and Principal Tom Churchill, because technology is not con sidered basic education.

"They leave it to local citizens to choose whether to fund technology," he said. "Four years ago, we moved everything over from the old building, so that included the servers, the phone system and all the student and staff computers. Since then, we've always looked for deals, from the Department of Corrections and other school districts."

Some classrooms have up to 25 computers and others as few as three or four, but none of the classrooms has any new computers, Churchill said.

There are also outdated computers in the library and a cart of newer netbook mini-lap tops that a technology specialist taught stu dents with last year.

There is no technology specialist hired yet this year because last year's specialist is now a teacher at the school.

"That's obviously something we'd like to be able to return to," Churchill said. "But first, we just need to upgrade our equipment because we don't have much in the way of new equip ment. We're hoping that the community will recognize that as something they can support."

For more information, visit for the phone and email con tact information of each school board member or attend the upcoming public school board meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29 at Hood Canal School.

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