SAM Positions Supporting Technology
SAM believes technology is now and will forever be an integral part of our culture and presents ever changing challenges and opportunities for our students. Schools throughout Montana struggle to finance critical technology infrastructure. Educational services requiring technology are not available to all Montana Students. Therefore SAM will support:
• Administrative, operational and learning process change at the federal, state, district and school levels must be addressed strategically where goals, resources and timing for improvement are managed cohesively.
• Baseline funding for supportive technology infrastructure should be addressed by a variety of methods that include; mechanisms that account for life cycle cost of ownership, technology that is driven by changes in classroom and/or curricular needs, and operational technology related to business function necessary to run a school district (i.e. State reporting, security systems, telecommunications, etc). Districts would be encouraged to fund additional infrastructure and capabilities as demanded by their environments.
• Technology education for administrators, staff and students is timely, relevant, and compulsory.
• The management of technology requires a baseline of understanding and education. School administrators and leaders need support in specific process and technology implementation management.
• Technology planning, implementation and support functions, requiring specialized skills and knowledge, are accomplished by professional staff or contracted consultants according to specific district business models.
SUPPORT OF TRAINING FOR FEDERAL E-RATE REIMBURSEMENT
SAM will support a model for training for E-Rate applications and submittal to leverage expertise to ensure every district in Montana is taking advantage of the Federal E-Rate funding.
SAM Resolutions Supporting Technology
Resolution #13/15-01 – CAPITAL FACILITY NEEDS
BE IT RESOLVED, that SAM pursue continued and expanded state funding for capital facility needs in districts across the state of Montana to match and leverage local support for maintaining quality, safe, healthy, and educationally appropriate school facilities that meet the needs of 21st Century learning. The resolution should include support for technology costs within the definition of capital facility needs. The resolution should encourage energy efficiency, quality materials, and the general concept of sustainability. In addition, we encourage state support to match local building reserves so that school districts will be able to maintain facilities.
We encourage state support maintaining local control, and ensuring full funding for programs such as the state Facility Guaranteed Mill per ANB funding, as well as new initiatives that might be developed in the future.
We believe that this resolution is important to the needs of students in districts across the state of Montana.
Resolution #16-08 – ANB ALLOCATION FOR TECHNOLOGY HARDWARE UPGRADES
WHEREAS, every school district in Montana strives to provide a quality education for every student that culminates in college and career readiness; and
WHEREAS, every school district in Montana is united in the belief that All students deserve to be successful; and
WHEREAS, every school district in Montana is striving to provide 21st Century learning opportunities and needed skills; and
WHEREAS, every school district in Montana is funded through a variety of sources, but primarily by the average number of students in attendance or ANB, and
WHEREAS, Timber sales have been used to historically fund technology but that revenue stream has continued to decline and now represents a minute fraction of needed monetary resources to fuel technology; and
WHEREAS, schools are having difficulties in funding for technology and funding is not equitable across the state for upgrading, maintaining, and supporting technology hardware in schools; and
WHEREAS, a basic allocation per student, ( e.g. Data Achievement (MCA 20-9-325)), would bring a constant revenue that school districts would support refreshing technology hardware on at least a five year cycle (industry standard). A basic annual allocation of $50 per student over a five year span would generate $250; which may not cover the complete cost of hardware for a student, but enough that a district can do more effective and efficient planning; and
WHEREAS, it is anticipated that the following costs would be associated with the resolution:
Cost of funding technology hardware for a five year refresh cycle
Per student allocation of $50 with 144,532 students (as of 2014-2015) $7,226,600
BE IT RESOLVED, that the SAM hereby requests that the 2017 Montana Legislature increase the state’s funding for technology by appropriating $7,226,600 million each year for technology hardware.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that SAM supports an increase in funding beyond the services already allocated to support schools.
Resolution #16-09 – SUPPORT OF MINIMUM BANDWIDTH FOR SCHOOLS
WHEREAS, blended classrooms that integrate technology and rich media resources have become essential in the 21st Century classroom; and
WHEREAS, U.S. Department of Education and State Education Technology Directors Association recommendations require 1Mbps per student to ensure a media rich learning environment; and
WHEREAS, many rural schools in the state cannot meet basic bandwidth requirements for state mandated online testing; and
WHEREAS, Montana represents one of the largest sectors of entrepreneurial activity in the country, demonstrating that our students will need access to digital resources to compete globally in careers and college upon graduation; and
WHEREAS, decisions on appropriate bandwidth speeds and service are best made by the administration and trustees of local school districts;
BE IT RESOLVED, the legislators will work with the Governor's office, Education Super Highway, META, and SAM ensure a minimum of 1mbs per student for all Montana public education students.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, SAM and the State of Montana will explore supporting PK-20 connectivity consortiums to allow schools to tie into the State University systems for connectivity to University classrooms and other educational resources.
Resolution #16-11 – REMOVING THE LIMIT DURATION ON TECHNOLOGY LEVY FUNDING
WHEREAS, technology is an ever evolving and necessary tool in every Montana classroom; and
WHEREAS, school districts rely on technology levies to fund the network, student and staff devices, curricular and operational software purchases, as well as training, repairs and support; and
WHEREAS, in many budget years, the general fund has to cover a significant number of those costs; and
WHEREAS, General Fund budgets in many districts are limited to the base budget given local taxpayer’s avoidance of operational levies that allow districts to adopt maximum budgets, leaving District’s basic operational resources too tight to meet the needs of 21st Century classrooms;
WHEREAS, limiting a technology levy’s duration to 10 years, as well as District’s risking a previously approved perpetual technology levy may restrict a district’s ability to ensure ongoing technological integrity;
BE IT RESOLVED, section 6 will strike the 10 year maximum limitation and section 8 will be deleted from MCA 20-9-533.