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JSD to look at asking for tech funds from state

Posted: December 13, 2011 - 1:04am

The Juneau School District will consider asking for state capital funds for technology upgrades that would replace hundreds of computers across several schools that are more than six years old.

The board of education meets Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. in the Juneau-Douglas High School library.

The board also will consider approval of a list of legislative priorities. One such priority is capital fund needs — largely dedicated to technology.

“More than 15 percent of the district’s computers are older than six years and a similar percentage is older than five years old (beyond serviceable life),” the board’s action item description states. “A typical refresh cycle in government or industry is to replace 20 to 25 percent of inventory each year; thus a full replacement is achieved every four to five years. Due to budget constraints, that has not happened in the JSD.”

The total fund request is for $600,000, some of which will go toward tech staff. Last year the district reduced technology staff and formed a tech center — so replacing that many computers at once would put heavy strain on remaining staff members.

Funding also would replace the 27-year-old master clock system at Juneau-Douglas High School and replace a 55-year-old mechanical equipment at the JDHS gymnasium. It also would fund additional playground equipment at Riverbend Elementary School to serve the needs of children under age five. The school has a preschool program that serves children ages 3-5, but the equipment is designed for children ages 5-12.

Energy efficient lighting also is proposed for Mendenhall River Community School.

Aside from seeking capital funds, the district also will consider several other legislative goals for this session.

The board will consider approving a legislative priority list on Tuesday. That list includes:

• A Base Student Allocation increase.

• A request to make BSA increases at least three years in advance, so if the Legislature decides to make changes, districts can prepare for budgetary consequences ahead of time.

• Technology improvements for Alaska classrooms — either in the form of matching grants or technology appropriations.

• Grade-level proficiency measures for students in kindergarten through third grade. The district is urging for more intervention measures for students in those grade levels to successfully catch up.

• Option for preschool for all Alaska children. The district is supportive of a measure that would provide funding to all Alaska school districts to provide preschool, should parents choose to enroll their students.

For a full agenda and related documents on Tuesday’s meeting, visit juneauschools.org/board/meetings/packets.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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