Well, they haven’t done it yet, but the work is in progress. The problem? Simply, school districts pass bonds to buy stuff. Sometimes, that stuff is technology. In fact, for many districts, this is the ONLY way they are able to bring in updated technology to their school districts. The timeline is cited as follows:

“The committee will likely continue discussing these and otherpossible changes to the bond-guarantee program at its monthlymeeting on Feb. 19 in preparation for presenting the full SBOEwith recommendations for a first reading vote in March. Finalreading would likely occur in May, with implementation of anyresulting new rules set for June.” (Source: Email shared with Texas Technology Directors citing “Texas Education News”)

A Texas educator wrote the following; I’ve anonymized the email:

Please be aware that the State Board of Education is currently trying to pass an initiative that would limit the use of bond funds to only items that can be specifically shown to last 20 years or more.  As such, the purchase of technology items, including laptops, would be specifically prohibited.  This move essentially limits the ability of local communities and school board to decide what needs they have. SBOE has actually contacted the Texas Education Agency about this as well to try to pressure them to support this fundamental shift in thinking.

There are also efforts being put forward by individual members of the board to interfere with legislation that allows schools to use textbooks funds to purchase electronic books.  In short, there are those on the board who feel technology is just a toy that schools are misusing.

I am attaching a link to this message with the email addresses on it for the State Board of Education members.  There are those on the board that very much support technology.  You need to contact all of the members by phone or email and let them hear your viewpoint.  To date, only two or three people have contacted them, which is making it very easy for a minority of the members to push their views through.


Of course, another way of looking at it is the way this technology director put it:

You wouldn’t let your teenager purchase a car that took 30 years to pay off. I don’t think a bond over 20 to 30 years is the place to purchase technology. You can create a technology bond that takes 5 years to pay off or even 10 if it is infrastructure. We are trying to learn how to be fiscally responsible. And a 30 year loan for laptops is not fiscally responsible.

Some responses to this idea of being fiscally responsible at a time when the State failed to anticipate a budget shortfall (read previous blog entries) are frustrated. Here’s an example:

[A School District] purchases technology with 5 year bonds(as do many other districts), but if this passes, we may not have that option at all and then how will end user technology get funded?  And please do not say “Technology Allotment”……that is a joke.

While President Obama is saying that the recession is almost over, I get the feeling it is just starting in Texas. Speak up now or watch your District’s technology infrastructure crumble into the ground…and for those districts that did not pass a bond to get technology in schools, well, it could be too late.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure