A technology bond, approved by voters in the Northville Public Schools district in November, will start to make improvements to the schools' technology plan this spring.
The bond will be issued in two series, the first at $16.27 million will start this year and the second at $4.6 million will start in 2017. Improvements through the series will support the schools' technology plan for at least the next 12 years.
Despite the millions of dollars that will be invested, residents' taxes will not change from last year.
The millage rate will stay the same, said Mike Zopf, assistant superintendent for finance and operations for Northville Public Schools. Residents currently pay about 4.3 mills and will continue to pay that much, he said.
Zopf said the rate remains the same because the district has been paying back its long-term debt.
"Assuming taxable values were unchanged, the tax would have gone down," he said.
He said it would have been reduced to about 3.9 mills but will instead remain unchanged to fund the technology bond.
The district completed a technology needs assessment last year with input from teachers, principals, parents and other staff that led to the bond proposal, said Dave Rodgers, Northville Public Schools human resources director.
"The district has been without any notable technology improvements for several years," he said.
A similar bond request was turned down by voters in 2006, he said. The district made good use of the technology it had, he said, but classrooms need new instructional technology.
Schools to get new PCs, interactive white boards
"Year one is the big push," Rodger said. "We're really trying to do as much as we can."
He said they are in the design phase now, working with technology consultants Wright & Hunter, and will begin improvements as early as this spring at Meads Mill Middle School, Hillside Middle School and Northville High School.
He said summer vacation will give the district the opportunity for more improvements. Middle school and high school classroom improvements will be completed by the start of the 2013-14 school year, and elementary work will begin over the summer but will carry over into the fall, according to Rodger.
"We're most excited about, from an educational standpoint, our classrooms getting outfitted with interactive audio visual systems," he said.
Identified classrooms will be outfitted with technology such as:
- Multi-Touch Promethean Board (interactive white board)
- document camera
- audio enhancement system
- new teacher desktop computer
"All of our PCs throughout the district will be refreshed and replaced this summer," he said.
The classrooms getting these updates have already been selected, he said.
"Any general classroom is included in phase one," he said. "Others like auditoriums and gymnasiums will be handled further down the road in the bond in year two or three."
He said at the end of the second bond series, the district will replace all of the PCs again.
"We have the opportunity to refresh the district’s computers twice in the span of this bond," he said.
Other changes include replacing TVs with digital video systems that function through PCs, replacing the district's phone system and updating the security cameras in years two or three, according to Rodger. The district will also purchase replacement school buses to retire some of the aging vehicles in its 46-bus fleet.
Bids for various projects are already out, he said, and the district will receive them in the next few months to make the final decisions.