May 2022 Technology Levy

The Target Range School District Technology Levy was first passed eighteen years ago  (2004) by District voters and it provides the school $20,000 annually to pay for technology costs. This is a permanent levy and does not expire or require updated voter approval. This existing technology levy costs each Target Range homeowner $2.02 annually (based on current taxable value) per $100,000 of their property’s assessed value.

Since 2004, the actual cost of technology for student learning and business operations of the school district in 2022 has grown to $367,375.  

The current technology levy funds about 5% of the District’s current technology budget.

To address this gap in available funding, the Board of Trustees has approved a technology levy for the May 3, 2022 ballot in the amount of $255,000. 

If passed, this technology levy would replace the old technology levy. Due to updates in state law, this new technology levy would expire after ten years and require voter approval to continue, lessen, or increase. That means voters would get a chance to determine if the funds were spent wisely in a new election in 2032.

  • If passed, the total annual increase to taxes for each Target Range homeowner is $23.95 per $100,000 of the property’s assessed value beginning July 1, 2022.

  • If your property’s assessed value is $200,000, it will cost $47.90 annually.

  • If your property’s assessed value is $500,000, it will cost $119.75 annually.

What does this levy fund?

An updated technology levy would provide funds for:

  • Student devices like Chromebooks, tablets, laptops, headphones, 3D printers and other STEM resources

  • Staff computers and printers

  • Smartboards in classrooms

  • Software used in classrooms by students and teachers

  • Hardware and software used by secretaries, the business office, and administration to the run the school district

  • Networking equipment that delivers high speed Internet access throughout the building

  • Telephones and Safety equipment like security cameras and automatic door locks

  • Professional development for staff

Election Details

The election will occur on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. This will be an all mail election. 

You will receive your ballot the week of April 11th and all ballots must be received at the Elections Office or a drop off location by Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The elections office recommends mailing your ballot by Tuesday 26, 2022 to ensure it is counted. 

On election day, you can drop your ballots at the school between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or at the Missoula Elections office at 140 North Russel between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. 

Background

Target Range is facing a budget shortfall next year and in the next three to five years. There are three main reasons for these shortfalls:

  1. Technology costs exceed the amount of the current technology level

  2. Enrollment is declining

  3. The federal funds provided to schools during the pandemic will expire in 2024.

The district’s administration and board must identify ways to balance the budget with all available funds. This includes a request to voters to fund a ten-year technology levy.

Technology levies were created by the legislature to allow voters to approve local taxes for technology costs above and beyond what the State provides in the district’s base budget. If approved, this measure would maintain the current level of technology in the school and allow the General Fund to cover the costs of our teaching and classified positions. 

This levy will not fund the purchase of expanded programming. This is a strategy to allow the district to maintain programming and avoid significant cuts in programming and staffing over the next 10 years.

This measure seeks approval for the first increase in the District’s levy since 2004, increasing the current rate of $2 annually to $23.95 annually per $100,000 in assessed value.

If this measure is not approved, the District’s General Fund budget will still have to cover the current technology costs along with all other operational costs. That would result in the loss of software, hardware, and other digital tools teachers use for daily instruction. 

Given the projected enrollment decline, the district may still experience loss of staff over the next few years.

Individualized Learning Opportunities

This measure, if passed, maintains current software and hardware that allows the district to increase individualized learning opportunities. If passed, the levy would also allow the General Fund to retain existing programs, specialists, elective opportunities, and overall class sizes.

STEM Programs

If passed, this measure would support the District’s goal of engaging and self-directed learning experiences that are relevant to our student’s daily lives. It will help us to maintain learning programs that provide each student opportunities in challenging coursework and hands-on activities. This measure, if passed, would provide funding for advanced, hands-on programs in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM), and computer science programs.

K-3rd Grade Literacy

If passed, this measure will allow the school to keep using the  MAP Growth assessments of literacy in all grades, K-8, including critical years of building literacy skills in grades K-3. 

These assessments help teachers identify if students are learning and if they are growing enough in their literacy skills. These tools also provide what we call "progress monitoring" to ensure we are focusing impactful literacy strategies on our struggling learners.

Accountability

All District finances and expenditures are subject to accountability measures, including annual audits and School Board oversight, to ensure funds are used as intended. If passed, voters will have the chance to renew, decrease, or increase this levy in 2032.