Personal learning devices granted through $7.5 million Okemos bond extension

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By Jennifer Swanchara
Meridian Times staff writer

Okemos residents passed the Okemos Public Schools bond by 72 percent on Tuesday. The proposal will extend taxpayers millage rate of seven mills for an additional year to 2024. Screen Shot 2013-11-09 at 2.58.20 PM

Superintendent Dr. Catherine J. Ash said the additional $7.5 million will be used to buy seven buses over the next three years, $1 million toward enhancing security and the majority will be used for the one-to-one personal learning devices.

“The Okemos Citizens Milage Committee was created a year ago to do a study for the school year researching things like 21st century skills and online learning opportunities,” said Ash. “The committee also did visitations with school districts that had one-to-one programs.”

According to Ash, 20% of Okemos residents voted on Tuesday. One of them being Martha Hentz, five year resident and mother of two.

“I never thought about voting no after finding out what the money was going to be used for,” said Hentz.

“I am a great advocate of Okemos schools, they are doing a fabulous job educating my children and this bond will give them the money to make their education even better.”

Hentz said her 10- and 13-year-olds are already excited about the upcoming changes.

“I think the other kids are talking about it, so they are certainly excited about getting a computer,” Hentz said. “It’s something new and different.”

Co-Chair of the Okemos Citizens Milage Committee Dean Bolton said the committee had 20 presentations over the six weeks prior to the vote to gain residents’ support.

“The bond will have such a tremendous impact on the students and their educational experience,” Bolton said.

“The personal learning devices will prepare students for college, and even in the workplace, where they expect you to be technologically proficient.”

According to Ash, the personal learning devices will be fully implemented in all of Okemos schools for 2015-2016.

Ash said the personal learning devices can have a positive effect and take the students to another level of learning no matter where they are starting.

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