MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

May 8, 2013

Bond issue levels field for students

Muskogee voters will have the opportunity Tuesday to help ensure our children’s futures at no additional cost.

That’s a win-win situation.

We encourage voters to approve the 10-year, $47.5 million bond issue being requested by Muskogee Public Schools.

This bond issue would replace an existing tax. That means helping to ensure our students’ futures will come at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The bond would pay for much needed repairs and improvements on existing buildings and for new construction needed to help support our students’ education.

About 35 percent of the bond — $14.8 million — would go toward technology.

This is most intriguing.

Approval would allow MPS to begin laying the infrastructure needed to support district-wide use of computers by students.

The first wave of students — seventh- through 12th-graders — would soon receive a district laptop to use at home for schoolwork.

A software program would allow teachers and administrators to assign work, provide resources to students and track grades and assessments.

The students will take their laptops home each day and will be able to do their homework assignments without an Internet connection, Superintendent Mike Garde said.

That’s a game-changer.

Around 80 percent of our students receive free or reduced-price lunches. That number indicates many households can’t afford computers or the Internet access.

Technology is driving our nation’s economy.

Almost every job involves the use of computers and requires some computer skills.

Students who get their hands on computers at an early age are much more likely to gather the skills necessary to thrive in the workplace.

Not every school district will issue laptops. That means there are school districts where some students won’t have the same quality of education that MPS students will have — if you vote yes.

Providing laptops will level the playing field — it will mean every student from seventh grade on up will have access to the future.

It’s time to show our children we mean business when trying to help them succeed in business.

Vote yes.

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