The cost of bringing in new teachers and improving technology within school district two reportedly costs less than a cup of coffee from Starbucks every month. That's about how much it will cost taxpayers if they approve the technology mill on the May 7th ballot.
In the last decade, Billings voters have never voted for a technology mill levy for elementary schools. Educators like Kurt Klein said turning down the levies leaves students paying the price. "I just really hope people see what needs to take place with where we're at when it comes to buildings, the district, and hopefully we'll have a bigger and brighter future," Klein said.
The library here at Burlington has been cut in half to make room for overcrowded classrooms. Just a couple bucks a month would bring in additional teachers, and the technology needed to learn. "Some of the buildings have had to ship their sixth graders out. We don't have kindergartners here, because we don't have room for them," Klein said.
At last count, Burlington Elementary only has a third of the computers it needs for students, and only half of those devices are up to date. "It's just really hard to get a hold of it, and use it in our classroom. We try when we can," Klein said.
Approving mill levies would bring in 15 to 18 teachers to the district. SD2 Information Technology Director, Karen Palmer, said if the technology levy is approved, it would cost the owner of $100,000 home less than 80 cents a month. "We really need to get up to date, get more technology in the hands of students, and get them ready for the workplace in the future," Palmer said.
Karen said younger students need better technology, not only at home but in the classroom. "It's like when they come to school they unplug. They have these great tools, and when they come to school it's back to old textbooks and learning," Palmer said.
Ballots are due back at the Yellowstone County Courthouse by 8:00 PM May 7th. To find out more information about the upcoming elections, click on Connections.