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Tech component of levy key to future of NYM Schools

When New York Mills voters take to the polls this fall to address the option of increasing the district's operating budget, they will also have the opportunity to address some much needed technology upgrades in the form of a second levy question, that would allocate an additional $75 per pupil directed specifically for technology improvements.

NY Mills Technology Coordinator Lapene Maijala told the school board, during its regular August meeting, "Technology upgrades are inevitable and passing the second levy question is key. We have to spend money on these upgrades. We don't have a choice," Maijala said.

He went on to explain most computers in the district run Windows XP, which Microsoft will quit servicing next year due to the fact the operating system is outdated, and most of the computers have either 256 or 512 megabytes of RAM, which cannot handle a new server and are only functional for word processing.

"Without the upgrades of these computers and servers, we are looking at security risks," Maijala said. "We have to upgrade to Windows 7. There is no question."

He also said the computer labs throughout the district are constantly full and teachers find it difficult to schedule time for their classes to get lab time due to high demand. He suggested mobile labs with laptops would be much more efficient.

"We need to be responsible, ask the right questions, and minimize risks by doing research. We can't talk technology for the sake of talking technology. But with that being said, we need to do something." Maijala said.

It was decided the current technology committee within the school would meet with members of the school board to address issues and solutions. That way everybody would have a clear voice and unified message when addressing the public to the technology upgrade needs.

"We're not just talking computers here," Maijala said. "We are talking document cameras, student response systems and anything else that can help our teachers and students."

Federal Jobs Bill

The board was informed that President Obama signed the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act on August 10.

The bill will provide $26 billion in aid to states, municipalities and school districts. The education fund includes $10 billion in one-time funding to school districts during the 2010-11 school year to support education and related services.

The amount allocated to Minnesota, based on population, is about $170 million.

Funds are to be used to pay salaries of teachers and support workers and are not to be used for general administrative services.

State applications are due September 9th and New York Mills could possibly see the results within two or three weeks of the application date.

Fall enrollment numbers

Tentative fall enrollment numbers suggest 701 students are enrolled this fall compared to a projected number of 691 in June.

• Pre K/Sp. Ed: 6

• Kindergarten: 72

• 1st grade: 55

• 2nd grade: 57

• 3rd grade: 54

• 4th grade: 55

• 5th grade: 55

• 6th grade: 53

• 7th grade: 52

• 8th grade: 59

• 9th grade: 48

• 10th grade: 51

• 11th grade: 47

• 12th grade: 49

Band trip compliment

Blaine Novak, High School Principal, shared a letter with the board he received from Sunshine Travel in regards to the marching band's summer trip.

"Your students should be congratulated. They demonstrated commendatory personal conduct during their education and leisure experiences. As representatives of New York Mills High School, your students gave an outstanding impression," the letter read.

"We should be very proud of Mr. Groe and these kids," Novak said.

Aid anticipation awarded

Piper Jaffrey & Co. of Minneapolis was the low bidder of aid anticipation bids of $2,045,000 needed because the state legislature and governor could not agree on an education bill during the last legislative session.

Piper Jaffrey bid 1.0 percent with a reoffering yield of .58 percent, bringing the total cost to $2,052,709 with a net interest cost of $14,444 and a net interest rate of .6519 percent.