Farmington school board OKs pursuing tech loan

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington High School yearbook adviser Erin McGinley, left, helps sophomore Traedan Allison, center, with a page he is designing for the yearbook on Jan. 27 as senior Alisha Salas watches.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education approved a resolution at its special meeting Tuesday to pursue a multi-million dollar loan for the district’s technology programs.

The board approved submitting an application to the New Mexico Finance Authority for a $6.7 million education technology loan that would fund the district’s 2016-2019 technology plan.

Andrew Stricklin, an associate for RBC Capital Markets, gave an update on the loan process and the district’s financial standing before board members voted to submit the application.

Stricklin said the loan does not require voter approval and would not increase the current property tax rate of $2.783 per $1,000 of net taxable value of a home.

School board President Kyle Rhodes said the board received a report from Charles Thacker, the district’s executive director of technology, during its Jan. 28 meeting about how the technology department plans to use the funds. Most of the money will go toward the Farmington Learning Initiative.

The board members approved the district's technology plan at that meeting.

The Farmington Learning Initiative provides 5,400 Apple laptop computers for middle and high school students to use during the school year for class assignments and homework. In the technology plan, 2,800 Apple MacBook laptops for high school students and staff will be replaced at a cost of $3.8 million. The remainder of the loan would go toward operating the district's technology program for the next three years.

“The Farmington school district is known throughout the state for having a very innovative technology program,” Rhodes said. “Our citizens embrace that, and we’re fortunate to have this technology available to us in the district.”

The application will go before the New Mexico Finance Authority board for approval later this month, and a special Farmington school board meeting is scheduled for April 5 to approve the loan, according to Stricklin.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.