NA school board OKs technology plan, tax increase

Posted: June 25, 2015 in Press Coverage
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The North Allegheny School District’s plan to give every first- through 12th-grader an iPad or laptop over four years will be helped by a tax increase approved Wednesday.

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Comments
  1. Wendy Lukitsch says:

    A few key points to remember:
    1) Maureen Grosheider was on the Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) which recommended that the District, over the next two years, adopt a one-to-one computing environment in grades 1-12 as well as expand staff to support the initiative. The TAC did so knowing that there would be large costs associated with it and even proposed expenses out to year 2020 to show a total estimated cost of the initiative.
    2) Mrs. Grosheider has consistently stated that we (NASD) are behind other school districts such as Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon and Hampton when it comes to technology. FYI-these school districts are ALSO raising their taxes.
    3) Upper St Clair approved their final budget with an increase of 0.84 mills or $84 per $100,000 of assessed value. And it took them from 22.1957 mills to 23.0355 mills. (http://triblive.com/mobile/8570221-96/budget-ipads-students)
    4) Mt Lebanon approved their final budget with an increase of .40 mills taking them from 23.1500 to 23.5500.
    5) Hampton increased by 0.27 mills taking them from 17.8500 to 18.1200.
    6) NA approved an increase of 0.5972 mills or $59.72 per $100,000 of assessed value, taking their millage from 17.4039 to 18.0011.
    7) Long story short, it looks like the three schools Mrs. Grosheider continues to compare NA to will increase taxes this year.
    8) NA is lucky in that it’s tax structure was already low, making it highly likely we remain in our current ranking or even improve a spot or 2, staying in the top 10 lowest in the region.

    Interesting that she now decides to reverse course and vote No on the initiative she supported.

    Also, as an aside, the “new” Board isn’t in office yet. It should be clarified that “no annual tax increases” is not the same thing as “no tax increases.”

    Be informed and stay away from the hype and spin.

  2. Tony Berarducci says:

    Back in October 2014, NA’s technology committee had its first meeting. The committee was made up of professionals, business owners, parents, NA School Board Members, teachers, administrators, all of which are community members. The 25+- person committee met about 6 or 7 time up through the spring of this year and studied all aspects of the multiple meanings of the word “technology” with the intention to understand where we are and where we need to be as a school district. The meetings also included on site and off site visits of other districts to understand better what comparable districts are doing. The most agreed upon unanimous point was that “technology” would be a forever, on going moving target that our district needs to understand and maintain our position as a leading school district. We are all preparing our children for the future and to be successful in the real world. There will be no careers or professions left that exclude technology for our children. One of the biggest challenges across the board is parity. Every NA student in every elementary, middle and high school deserves the exact same opportunity. A “1 to 1” device initiative is really the only way to assure that happens for each student. Think about yourself going through a day with a shared device? Research also shows students take more responsibility and provide better care for a device that they are solely issued verse one they share. There will be issues but we have to prepare and learn to be able to correct problems and I’m quite certain we will have to further adapt as this progresses. Tax increases are never an easy subject and nobody wants to just pay more but there are so many other moving parts to consider here. Surely, advancements with technology are not the sole reason for a tax increase in NA. We are faced with multiple issues in regards to many other budgetary challenges just as a lot of surrounding districts are doing the same. It was a unanimous decision by our committee that “technology” can’t afford to suffer or wait while we work through all the other budget challenges. If we don’t act now and endorse technology, the expense and time to play catch-up would cost us far more in the future as it’s never going away and will continue to change.

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