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Belgrade schools hope votes will bring ‘much-needed’ technology funds, fill school board positions

Posted at 3:23 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 18:10:28-04

BELGRADE – Ballots are in mailboxes throughout the community of Belgrade.

Several items on each ballot could change the future of area schools for the better, from technology to who will sit on the school board.

There are three key levies on the ballot.

Two of which would improve technology in Belgrade Public Schools’ elementary district, grades K-through-8; the other, the high school district, grades 9 through 12.

The third levy would provide a perpetual levy of $600,000, all dollars that the superintendent says would improve education.

“This is about something bigger than us, bigger than me,” said Godfrey Saunders, Belgrade Public Schools superintendent.

Saunders said it is about looking at the bigger picture, in this case, a much-needed technology catch-up.

“The average life of your best Chromebook is about three to five years,” Saunders said. “A little over 800 of our computers in this district are 10-plus years old.”

Covering everything technological, the school is asking for $300,000, collectively, with two tech levies.

Saunders added current technology funding is cutting short what is needed.

“That’s $62,000 for each district and that’s not enough money,” said Saunders. “You couldn’t even upgrade the technology for the teachers, alone.”

The superintendent does say that it’s not just fun and games when it comes to the overall education of the kids here in Belgrade so any little bit going towards technology could help go a long way.

“To make learning fun, itself, and exciting but also challenging at the same time, you need to be able to institute and have the technology, at hand,” said Saunders. “That’s important. It’s critical.”

History teachers like Joe Rossman at Belgrade Middle School agree.

“It could supply new computers,” said Rossman. “It could supply faster internet. It could supply maybe a Smartboard to classrooms so we could show information, especially in history on events that happened hundreds of years ago.”

Saunders said while the levies are important, so is another vote: three open board positions.

With four people running for the spots and funding both on the line, he hopes the voters consider all options.

“These are our kids,” said Saunders. “This is our legacy and what’s important for our community.”

To consider the numbers, if the vote passes, the cost would be about $21.72 per year for a home with an assessed market value of $100,000.

Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News