Access to technology an issue for Springfield schools after defeat at ballot box

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Ginny Hoke's students keep an online portfolio of their writing.

      After class, they can access it and review feedback from their peers and teacher.

      "The ability to extend the learning beyond the classroom, it adds that excitement that engagement factor," Hoke said.

      Her students say technology makes lessons more exciting and helps keep them on top of their studies.

      "If a teacher grades a test, you can see what your grade is," said 7th-grader Blake Garcia, "and if you have a missing assignment, you can work on that throughout the day."

      Last November, voters rejected a bond measure seeking $15 million to upgrade technology in the Springfield School District.

      Despite the defeat at the ballot box, the school district's goals remain the same.

      "Our priority is making sure that all of our students regardless of what school they're in, what classroom their in, what neighborhood they live in have access to the kind of technology that will help prepare them to be successful either in the workplace or in college," said Devon Ashbridge, a spokesperson for the district.

      Right now resources vary greatly throughout the district. Most schools have only limited wireless Internet; 60 percent of the computers in Springfield schools are 8 years old - or older.

      With cuts to federal grant programs, getting funding for technology is more difficult than ever for schools. Schools nationwide are being forced to make hard choices.

      New investments in technology are often the first things to go.

      "For some people, I think technology has been the thing that has been cut," said Hoke. "Over time when something like that is cut, you see the long range impact."