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Wed, Feb. 26

HUSD uses B Bond money for technology upgrades

The Humboldt Unified School District has about $4.2 million left over from the $41 million B Bond approved by taxpayers in 2006. The B Bond Committee met recently to determine its recommendations for the HUSD Governing Board to vote on at its Oct. 18 meeting.

The district must spend the money within the five categories brought before the voters: improve athletic and playground facilities; renovate and upgrade existing schools; construction of additions to existing schools; construction of a new transportation facility; and replacement of an aging bus fleet. Some of the projects have money left over and some projects cost more than the estimates.

Superintendent Paul Stanton has identified maintenance as first priority, as this is based on safety and efficiency needs of the district. The second priority is technology infrastructure. While the district cannot use B Bond money to purchase information technology hardware and software, it can purchase technology infrastructure, such as network wiring in classrooms and the pre-wiring and ceiling mounts for future LCD projectors, document cameras and related technology.

"We're struggling to keep up with technology in the classroom," said Phil Young, HUSD Human Resources director, at the Sept. 28 meeting.

Student engagement is an important part of how teachers can effectively use technology, Young said. LCD projectors work best attached to the ceiling as opposed to on a cart with cords running to nearby outlets. He estimated rewiring and cabling for projector and sound to be $1,800 per classroom. The district will have to purchase the projectors, cameras and hardware over several years from

sources other than B Bond funds.

State law allows districts to pay for the cost overruns in one category with cost savings from another category. Some HUSD projects still are in progress, leaving the combined unencumbered/unexpended budget capacity of $3,789,292.

The committee voted to recommend the governing board reallocate $1.8 million of the remaining proceeds to maintenance, renovation and upgrading of the district's facilities, and the building of the technology infrastructure.

The HUSD Governing Board meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the transportation facility at the district office, 6411 N. Robert Road.

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