News Column

Anderson District 3 plans to issue bonds to pay for new technology

May 20, 2014

By Sarah Freishtat, Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.

May 20--Anderson School District 3 plans to issue bonds to pay for new technology and pay off debt on equipment previously purchased.

The Anderson County Board of Education approved the plan at a meeting Monday night.

The Iva-based district plans to raise no more than $600,000 in bonds, said district Business Manager Keith Martin, $257,000 of that will go toward the third payment on a 2012 technology purchase, Martin said. The equipment, which included classroom laptops and desktops, cost about $1 million, he said.

Martin said about $342,000 of the bond money will go toward improving wireless Internet in each of the district's schools.

That portion of the bond issue will mean higher taxes for homeowners and businesses within the district's boundaries, likely for one year, Martin said.

Those who own a $100,000 home will pay about $32 more in taxes in the coming year, if not less, Martin said. Businesses and those who rent property will see about a $48 increase at most, Martin said.

Homeowners do not contribute to the district's operating cost, Martin said. They do pay for bonds, such as these, that help the district pay off debt.

The district also plans to use money from the state to cover part of the cost, Martin said, but officials do not yet know how much money the district will receive.

Superintendent Mason Gary said the work will improve Internet speed and access in each of the district's five schools and the district office. The upgrade will occur over the summer, he said.

"I don't want to get behind the times," Gary said.

The improvements will allow the district to expand technology use in the future. Gary is still deciding how to incorporate devices into the classroom, but the district could provide each student with their own mobile device or allow students to bring their own laptops or tablets, he said. Currently, teachers use a school-owned set of devices in the classroom, Gary said.

Anderson School District 1, based in Powdersville, approved issuing $6 million in bonds for new technology at a February meeting. Most of that money will go toward purchasing one iPad with a case for every third- through twelfth-grader, while the district plans to use the rest for software, Internet upgrades and training.

The other $257,000 in District 3 bonds, which will be used to pay for previously purchased equipment, is already included in home- and business-owner tax rates since it is the third installment of a recurring payment, Martin said.

The district plans to purchase new technology every four years because the equipment is constantly changing, Martin said.


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Source: Anderson Independent-Mail (SC)

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