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CVUSD ready to take on debt to pay for new technology

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors today authorized the sale of $21 million in bonds by the Coachella Valley Unified School District to support district-wide technology upgrades and supply every student, preschool through high school, with an Apple iPad.

 In a 5-0 vote, without comment, the Board of Supervisors cleared the way for the first part of a $41 million issuance that Coachella Valley residents approved last year to to go market.

Measure X won 66 percent of the vote on Nov. 6.

"One thing we saw was that only 16.5 percent of students we sent to college actually graduated from college. We've got to do something," said CVUSD Superintendent Darryl Adams.  

Adams says it's time for a curriculum transformation and change begins with technology. Under the measure, the district will incur debt to buy 20,000 iPads for all 18,000 students -- at all grade levels -- as well as purchase laptops for every teacher in the school district.

"The cost will come out to $12 million. We'll pay that in $3 million a year increments," said Adams.

According to CVUSD officials, bond revenue will additionally pay for technology enhancements that ensure wireless connectivity in every school and possibly students' homes.

"He's looking forward to the iPads and interacting," said Mike Tapp about his son Evan, a ninth-grader at Coachella Valley High School.

The effort evolved from the CVUSD's "Strategic Plan for 21st Century Learning."

The school district's IOUs will go to auction on the bond market in the next few months.

School bonds are generally sold in $5,000 denominations, and interest rates are capped at 6 percent, with payments made to bond-holders on a semiannual basis until debt maturity.

According to CVUSD documents, the notes will be backed by property taxes. School district residents and business owners will pay an additional $30 per every $100,000 of assessed value on their properties to underwrite the debt.

"It's a little bit of money, but it's not a lot. It's going to benefit our children," said Tapp.

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