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Posted: 11/14/12

RCS technology proposal
narrowly approved

Observer Staff Writer
      An eight-year bond proposal to fund technology for Romeo Community Schools passed by 170 votes.
       Residents in the Romeo school district narrowly passed a technology bond, with 8,797 "yes" votes (50.5 percent) to 8,627 "no" votes (49.5 percent) during the Nov. 6 election.
       Although it passed by a slim margin, Superintendent Nancy Campbell called it a "great day for Romeo students, staff and the whole community."
       "I've heard words like squeaker and nail-biter, and both terms are appropriate, but at the end of the day I'm incredibly grateful that the community saw fit to support this technology initiative for our students," Campbell said.
       Now that it has been approved, the bonds will be sold in January. Of the $16.4 million, 79 percent will go toward classroom technology, including wireless Internet devices for all students and teachers and interactive "smartboards" in every room.
       In the meantime, Campbell said a committee made up of parents, staff and other community members will form to discuss the overall plan, such as how to roll out the 5,000-plus devices.
       "We have a lot to look at," she said. "The ultimate goal is for students to think critically and solve real-life problems using technology."
       The infrastructure for the electrical work and wireless network is expected to be completed by June, with the devices in the hands of teachers around the same time to give them the chance to form lessons over the summer. The devices will be given to students in September.
       "This is the biggest change we're going to see, it's a change in teaching and learning," Campbell said. "I don't know of any other districts doing a K-12 implementation."
       Connie Gamble of Romeo supported the bond, saying the technology will help improve the way students learn and prepare for life after school.
       "That's what our society is, technology, and we want to prepare them to go out into the world," she said.
       Paulette Sample of Bruce Township said she voted in favor of it because she was looking out for her family.
       "I have nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild and I'm interested in their future," she said.
       John Swan of Bruce Township voted for the technology bond as well, saying he understands that keeping up with technology requires funding.
       "If it's going to help increase the knowledge of our students I'm all for it, as long as we don't lose sight of the old-fashioned pen and paper way of doing things too," he said.

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