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$1.5 million technology levy gains support of NLS voters

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

NEW LONDON -- Voters in the New London-Spicer School District have approved a $1.5 million technology levy that will update the district's computer and network technology.

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The unofficial results released by school officials Tuesday evening showed that 1,254 voters cast their ballots for the levy -- $500,000 per year over a three-year-period -- while 916 voters cast ballots against the levy.

Approximately 36 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the election. The voters included 148 people who registered to vote on Election Day at the high school gymnasium in New London.

"We are very appreciative of the support sh-own by our co-mmunity," Superintendent Paul Carlson said Tuesday. "We are excited for the future and thankful for the support from our community."

Carlson expects the first funds from the technology levy to be received by the district in July 2012, with students and teachers most likely using the new equipment and systems in the 2012-2013 school year. Meanwhile, district officials are already researching ways to speed up the first technology improvements, if district finances will allow quicker implementation, he added.

The additional tax impact will be $37 annually per $100,000 of home value on residential property and $28 annually on agricultural property including the value of the house, garage and one acre of land. The impact on business property is estimated at an additional $21 annually per $100,000 of value.

An estimated 75 percent of the levy funding would be used for devices, the network backbone and infrastructure needs, while about 25 percent would go for training and personnel costs.

Carlson stressed that the district administration will use the funding to maximize the student benefit. "We will be good stewards of the additional resources," he said.

The funding will equip the district's classrooms, teachers and students with a blend of technology, including access to iPads or similar tablet computers, interactive whiteboards in all classrooms and amplification sound systems in classrooms.

The district will also invest in better equipment in computer labs and a dependable network system, plus offer the training and support needed by the teachers to ensure integration of the technology into the classroom, Carlson said in a previous interview with the Tribune.

The district hopes to add cloud technology -- web-based applications and data storage on the Internet -- to the infrastructure in the future.

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