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NY Mills school starts tech improvements now

The technology referendum results were accepted at Monday night's special school board meeting in New York Mills.

In all, there were 607 total votes; 362 yes votes and 245 no votes.

Even though the funds from the levy will not be generated until next year, the school board told Superintendent Todd Cameron that the improvements should begin immediately.

The question now is where they should start.

A technology committee will begin to meet again to narrow down the priorities on the technology wish list. Board members Josie Hendrickx and Jill Carlson will represent the board on the committee, which is also made up of a wide array of teachers and administration.

Hendrickx said she noticed from technology meetings before the levy that the elementary and high school teachers have different priorities.

To help prioritize, school board member Chuck Jacobson suggested having all the teachers write wish lists to see if there is a majority of teachers who need the same thing.

Cameron said earlier in the year the school bought eight iPad2s to try out. Getting a few in teacher's hands right away allows them to see if iPads are the direction they should go.

Other aspects of technology plans include writing updated policies, to be in place before the new technology comes in the building.

Cameron said the school is also mandated to block all websites that have no educational purpose.

Rachel Grieger reminded Cameron of the adult education aspect, especially for the parents. Educating the public on how students are using technology is also part of the referendum plans.

When administration technology updates were mentioned, Hendrickx said, "We went after this for the kids."

Cameron said there are some administration technology updates that might be worth looking into. All ideas will be brought to the board for approval.

Over the next few months as the plan comes together and the details are worked out, Cameron will continue to update the board.

In light of the upcoming meetings with unions on contract negotiations, Grieger said, "The technology money will not be used for salaries."

Many on the school board expressed thankfulness to the public for voting yes on this referendum. Though there are still decisions to be made, having income set aside for technology makes moving forward a lot easier.