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Schools May Want $700K to Remedy 'Woefully Inadequate' Technology

The School Committee is considering an article for placement on the annual Town Meeting warrant which would provide significant funding support for technology upgrades in the District. The article would ask voters to approve expenditure of $700,955 to make upgrades in the District's wired and wireless network and to purchase newer computers district-wide which would be capable of running the same applications in different district school buildings.

School Committee members discussed the proposed article during a hearing on the district's fiscal 2014 operating budget. The article is being proposed in response to a Technology Audit Report which underscored inadequacies in technology used in support of the curriculum and teaching. The Technology Audit Report was presented to the School Committee just prior to the hearing on the proposed fiscal 2014 operating budget.

Initial discussion of the proposed warrant article among school committee members revealed some differences in support of the article. School Committee Vice Chair John Giger said he was a strong supporter of technology in the school district and was very disturbed by the Technology Audit Report. However, Giger said he could not support the $700,000 warrant article because it was premature Giger said the School District is not ready to make acquisitions in the next year and any technology plan has not been formulated or thought through. Giger believed the first step was to hire a full-time Technology Director.

School Committee member Jim Frey agreed to some extent with Giger's comments. Frey agreed that the district needs a technology director and that person should be in place before network upgrades and equipment are purchased. However, Frey said that if the warrant article was approved, the funds would be available and they wouldn't have to be spent in the first year. Frey noted that there is not a lot of time to lose if the district is to move forward with a comprehensive, integrated technology plan. School Committee member Jon Sjoberg also had some concern about the article and approving it without a plan or vision for technology in the district.

With these differences, the School Committee has planned several more meetings to discuss the warrant article and the proposed 2014 operating budget.

Groton Herald

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