Battle Ground Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Battle Ground Schools staff distribute Chromebooks at Prairie High School
Battle Ground Schools staff distribute Chromebooks at Prairie High School
Keeping us connected: levy dollars deliver technology for Battle Ground students - 01/08/21

Now more than ever, technology plays a critical role in education. Whether it’s providing access to computers and hardware, educational software and online curricula, or installing infrastructure upgrades within our school buildings, technology services are instrumental in delivering an equitable, quality education to Battle Ground Public Schools’ nearly 13,000 students.

Thanks to funding collected from the local schools levy, the district is able to provide every student in grades 3-12 with their own computer through the one-to-one computing initiative and has upgraded several technology systems in recent years, including district-wide Wi-Fi networks, servers, security and intercom systems. 

During the pandemic, technology has played an even larger role in keeping students learning and engaged. Remote learning dramatically increased the need for access to online curricula and learning materials and immediately created the need for additional Chromebooks for students in grades K-2 to take home (who normally share devices using carts of Chromebooks in the classroom).

Since March 2020, BGPS has distributed more than $500,000 worth of mobile hotspots to keep students connected to the internet at home, and has provided families with a wealth of online learning apps and home learning resources. The district has also purchased licenses for the GoGuardian parent app to help keep students safe on their school-issued devices. This application provides web-based filtering and parental controls on school-issued devices at home.

“Battle Ground Public Schools is committed to providing students with the tools needed to succeed in modern classrooms and work environments,” said Scott McDaniel, the district’s director of technology. “Providing this level of access prepares our students for today's careers, increases student engagement, and enhances collaboration between students and their teachers.”

In addition to providing funding for 2,200 Chromebooks each year and thousands of licenses for learning resources, levy dollars also cover necessary upgrades to the district’s technology infrastructure. Last year, BGPS upgraded its Wi-Fi networks and replaced the intercom systems in all district campuses and offices. In the next six months, all of the district’s core server systems will also be upgraded and replaced.

Replacing the Wi-Fi networks improved connectivity and internet speeds, but more importantly, enhanced the district’s online security capabilities. Replacing the district’s core server systems is important for a few reasons. These servers backup the vast amounts of data required to operate a large school district, and the old servers have already lasted beyond their projected lifespans.

Continuing to use outdated server systems poses a few key issues. Because the servers are beyond their warranty, the district would have to purchase extended coverage from third parties to guard against potentially catastrophic data losses. The district would also be at risk of seeing hardware failures that would be disruptive to an effective learning environment.

The old intercom system also lasted well beyond its expected lifespan and was recently replaced. The new systems include upgraded hardware and software that allow for messages to be broadcast simultaneously in every district building, which is important for security management in case of an emergency.

Battle Ground Public Schools is dedicated to being responsible with public funds and taking advantage of available resources, such as the $300,000 federal E-rate grant that helped pay for the completed network upgrades.

“Just about everything tech-related in the district is made possible thanks to levy dollars,” said McDaniel. “Without it, both classroom and remote learning would look very different.”

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy will be on the Feb. 9, 2021 ballot. This is a replacement levy covering 2022-2025 and is not a new tax. 

While neighboring public school districts have separate levies to pay for technology, capital projects, transportation, and educational programs, Battle Ground has just one levy that covers all essential programs, including our technology initiatives. More information is available on the district website at www.battlegroundps.org/levy

Battle Ground Public Schools to host virtual Levy Information Night - 12/30/20

Battle Ground Public Schools will host a virtual Levy Information Night to provide details and answer questions about Proposition 5, the district's replacement educational programs and operations levy that will be on the Feb. 9, 2021 ballot.

All members of the community are invited to the public event, which will be held on Jan. 14, 2021 at 6 p.m. via Zoom webinar. Join the webinar at bit.ly/LevyInfoNight.

At the event, school district administrators will present information about the replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy and then answer questions. More information about the levy and the information night is on the district website at www.battlegroundps.org/levy.

In November, Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors voted to put the replacement levy on the Feb. 9 special election ballot. The levy is not a new tax, and if approved, will replace the levy that expires at the end of 2021. The local levy will allow the district to maintain educational programs and critical day-to-day school operations such as student technology, additional school staff beyond what the state provides, and building maintenance. 

It is estimated that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their local schools tax rate in 2021. The local levy rate is projected to be $1.95 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2022, which is about 22 percent less than the 2020 tax rate. After the first year, the replacement levy rate will go to a projected rate of $2.20 per $1,000, but will still be less than the current levy rate. 

To offset the loss in tax revenue, the district will dip into its rainy day reserve fund. Seeing that the pandemic has had economic implications for many families in the community, the school board decided that providing relief to the Battle Ground schools community during the pandemic would be a good use of some of the reserve funds. "I don't like to have to use the reserve fund, but COVID is one of those things that makes it necessary," said Board President Troy McCoy.

Battle Ground Public Schools already has the lowest property tax rate of all K-12 districts in Clark County, and it is projected to be even lower in 2022. While other districts rely on multiple levies to fund technology, transportation, capital projects and educational programs, Battle Ground funds all these elements out of a single levy. Across Washington, nearly all of the 295 districts rely on levy money to provide important student programs and services. 

Key points of the district's replacement levy are:

  • Replacement levy will decrease the tax rate in the first year (2022) to $1.95 per $1,000. 

  • The district plans to dip into its rainy day reserve fund and drop the tax rate as low as it can the first year.

  • Battle Ground Public Schools has the lowest property tax rate of all K-12 districts in Clark County.

  • The levy will allow the district to maintain critical student programs and activities not fully funded by the state and to maintain facilities.

  • The levy will be for four years, 2022–2025.