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Administrator’s Corner: Consider factors for operating levy

Administrator’s Corner by John Double


This year our community is being asked to consider an operating levy question for our school district. This operating levy will allow the school district to maintain the quality education the Albert Lea Area Schools provides our community and assist the district to meet the technological needs of our students.

This past year the use of technology increased greatly in our school district and we anticipate it will not diminish in the future.

John Double

An operating levy is for operations. The Hammer Field project was a bond for building. Districts are different than cities and counties in that we need voter support to increase revenue or build facilities. The current operating levy has maintained the same level of support for our district since 2007.

For this operating levy, the district is seeking additional funds to support student access to technology. As a district, we were well-equipped to meet our student needs through personal devices when the pandemic hit. With the lessons we have learned through this experience, we fully anticipate using these devices as our new normal.

During the first quarter, over 770 students participated in our distance learning academy. For these students, devices and access to the internet are needed to participate in their education. Our students in kindergarten through second grade use iPads daily and our students in third through 12th grade are using Chromebooks.

Families without internet access in their homes are provided hotspots to access the internet. Our students and staff are utilizing educational software such as the Google Suite of programs (which includes Google Meet, which is much like Zoom). This created our interactive classroom experience and directly connected our students with their instructors.

Approximately 2500 of our other students use personal devices one to three days a week for primary instruction at home.

The pandemic has forced our district to modify how we educate our students. As a district we were extremely well prepared because of a solid plan and the support of our community. Please consider these factors on Nov. 3.

John Double is the distance learning academy principal for Albert Lea Area Schools.