More than ever,the pandemic showed us the importance of working together as a community. We’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve learned, how we support our learners at Mahtomedi Public Schools, and we will continue our drive for excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. We value our community’s partnership, engagement, and support of our schools. In a phone survey conducted by Morris Leatherman in May of 2021, 93% of school district 832 community members rated the quality of Mahtomedi Public Schools as excellent or good. From this same survey. 89% of community members believe that technology use is absolutely essential or very important for today’s students.
This fall, our students and staff have returned to our classrooms with an abundance of new technology skills and we are excited to support them. Through the pandemic, we have maximized all local, state, and federal grant funding as well as voter-approved funding to support our district’s technology needs. We are also supported by community members and families through the Mahtomedi Area Educational Foundation. This responsible, mixed-funding approach helped us quickly support and respond to technology needs in our district during COVID-19. We are proud of the speed at which we were able to launch our Device for Every Learner Program and support our staff and students. Now that students are back in our classrooms, we see first-hand the impact of these efforts and how technology tools in the classroom are essential for excellence. We are seeing our elementary and secondary students engage in their learning in new ways that weren’t possible via paper tools and our teachers are finding new ways to deliver content and inspire students to explore and express their learning in innovative ways.
A primary source of technology funding at Mahtomedi Public Schools is a voter-approved Capital Projects Levy for Technology (commonly called a technology levy). The technology levy funds staff and student devices, critical technology infrastructure, training and tech support, and essential teaching and learning tools. This levy has been in place since 2002 and is up for renewal by voters in our community on November 2, 2021.
A renewal of the capital projects levy for technology means maintaining (not increasing) our existing tax rate. A renewal would provide sustainable, ongoing funding for our current technology devices and technology support for our students and staff. With the strategic plan guiding our work, we will move forward with the following funding priorities for the levy renewal: updating classroom technology that fosters exceptional teaching and innovative learning opportunities, creating a system to provide real-time support for innovative instruction, providing reliable, up-to-date infrastructure and data security and ensuring proactive, ongoing professional development and training for staff. If our levy is not renewed, our classroom instructional tools, including devices will be outdated, slowing valuable instruction and learning time. Without a renewal, we will also be forced to reduce technology support - negatively impacting students, staff, and technology maintenance needs. Finally, without a renewal of the levy, we will need to use the General Fund for technology infrastructure and data security, taking dollars away from other student and staff supports.
We invite the community to find out more about our Capital Projects Levy for Technology on our website at mahtomedi.k12.mn.us/techlevy and join us for an upcoming community meeting on October 11 or 19 at 6:30 pm at Mahtomedi Middle School. Early voting is now open in Washington County and voters can vote early by mail or in person.
Barb Duffrin is Superintendent of Mahtomedi Public Schools.