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School districts could use local property tax revenues for capital projects or debt service for technology programs and projects under SB144, which was endorsed Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee.

SALT LAKE CITY — School districts could use local property tax revenues for capital projects or debt service for technology programs and projects under SB144, which was endorsed Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee.

The legislation, sponsored by Majority Whip Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, would give local school boards the option of using the taxing authority they use to pay for building needs to address technological needs.

"As we move into the 21st century with a school system that hopefully will become more and more personalized through digital means … we need to acknowledge that a lot of the cost of making that shift is in the actual construction, implementation, deployment and purchase of those digital tools," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.

The legislation gives school districts the option of using debt service and capital outlay revenues for those purposes, Stephenson said.

"I think we're coming into an era where there's a blending of the physical facilities and the education itself. This gives those school boards that ability," he said.

Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, said SB144 "is a very good step to take."

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The growing use of technology in school demands a "robust network backbone (and) devices … to make sure the districts can put that total infrastructure in place to make that happen. I really like being able to provide that flexibility," Millner said

Stephenson, who presented the bill on behalf of Adams, noted "charter schools already have absolute flexibility to how to use all of their funds. To give an elected school boards more authority to make those choices just seems so reasonable."