Locals react to RPS technology levy results

Locals react to RPS technology levy results

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(ABC 6 News) – A lot of tough decisions are going to have to be inside the Edison Building as to what comes next for the district and that has some people concerned, but others are confident this will all work out.

It was a tight vote for the school’s technology levy. 49.3% voting in favor of the referendum and 50.7% voting against.

“We are incredibly pleased,” said John Whelan who is a part of the group “Say No to the Tax Man.” Whelan voted against the $100 million technology referendum.

“Find creative ways to find this money rather than this way. We are standing in front of a private business they have to live within a budget. Every homeowner has to live within a budget,” said Whelan.

Rochester Public Schools was asking taxpayers for $100 million over the next ten years to support new devices for students, new software and upgrades to physical and cyber security.

“Funding for technology would’ve been really great for all schools to have in the district because in this day and age technology is key to having a good education,” said RPS parent Brianna Hepple.

The news that the referendum failed disappointed some people.

“I’m certainly sad of course that the referendum didn’t pass. I’m disappointed that we could rally voters around the needs of students,” said Carol Shaffer who was a part of the group “Vote Yes for School Tech.”

After announcing they would have media availability Wednesday morning RPS instead provided a statement saying in part:

“Without the renewal of the technology levy, Rochester Public Schools will face additional cuts of up to $10 million, leading to increased class sizes and cuts to key programs and services beginning in Fall 2024.”

Hepple is concerned about the impact it will have on her children’s education.

“When you have these bigger class sizes the teacher might not know your student unless they advocate for themselves or you advocate for them,” said Hepple.

But Whelan says it shouldn’t affect students learning.

“Going back in our history we had one room schoolhouses and kids learned,” said Whelan.

Everyone ABC 6 spoke with Wednesday said they’re interested in hearing more from the school district on what the future will look like without this additional funding.