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(ABC 6 News) – There are a lot of tough decisions to be made inside the Edison building about what’s next for the district, and that has some people worried, but others are confident it will all work out.
It was a tight vote on the school technology levy. 49.3% voted for the referendum and 50.7% voted against.
“We are incredibly happy,” said John Whelan, who is part of the group “Say No to the Tax Man.” Whelan voted against the $100 million technology vote.
“Find creative ways to find that money instead of this way. We’re in front of a private business, they have to live within a budget. Every homeowner has to live within a budget,” Whelan said.
Rochester Public Schools asked taxpayers for $100 million over the next ten years to support new devices for students, new software and upgrades to physical and cyber security.
“Grants for technology would have been really good for all schools to have in the district because technology in this day and age is key to having a good education,” RPS parent Brianna Hepple said.
The news that the referendum failed disappointed some people.
“Obviously, I’m sad that the referendum didn’t pass. I’m disappointed that we were able to rally voters around the needs of students,” said Carol Shaffer, who was part of the “Vote Yes on School Technology” group.
After announcing they would have media availability on Wednesday morning, RPS instead released a statement that said 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 the fall of 2024.”
Hepple is worried about the impact it will have on her children’s education.
“When you have these larger class sizes, the teacher might not know your student unless they speak for themselves or you speak for them,” Hepple said.
But Whelan says that shouldn’t affect student learning.
“Going back in our history, we’ve learned one-room schoolhouses and children,” Whelan said.
Everyone ABC 6 spoke with Wednesday said they are interested in hearing more from the school district about what the future will look like without this additional funding.