FARMINGTON — Farmington schools will issue $6.5 million in loans to continue technology initiatives in the district for the next two years.

At its meeting Thursday, Farmington Municipal School District's Board of Education approved selling the educational technology funding loans.

The current property tax — $1.666 per $1,000 net taxable value of a home — will remain the same, said Randy Bondow, the district's assistant superintendent of business and finance.

For a home valued at $150,000, that means $50,000 is taxable, and the homeowner pays a little more than $83 in property taxes annually on the district's technology debt.

The money raised by the loans will fund the Farmington Learning Initiative, a program that provides about 5,200 Apple laptop computers to middle and high school students to use in the classroom and at home.

About $2.35 million will go toward the purchase of 2,850 new Apple MacBook Air laptops.

Charles Thacker, the district's director of technology, said the new computers will replace the current MacBook laptops used by middle school students and accommodate increases in student enrollment. Most of the older MacBooks laptops will be transferred to elementary school students and school staff, like teacher aides, he said.

Also at the meeting, the board approved renovations for the Heights Middle School gym.

About $354,800 in renovation work will be completed on the gym lobby, gym restrooms and two classrooms at the school.

Funding for the project comes from the $50 million 2010 bond election. Construction is expected to start when the current school year ends.

Included in the renovation work is about $20,000 to test whether asbestos is present at the school, and, if so, to remove it from the building.

The bathrooms will be renovated as crews test for and remove asbestos, said the district's chief of operations, Ted Lasiewicz.

New fixtures and stalls will be installed after the asbestos work is completed.

"One firm tests for it, one remediates it and another firm verifies that it was removed correctly before we begin the renovation process," Lasiewicz said.

The two renovated classrooms will house life skills classes, and crews will install new stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators for students to use.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.