Get More From Your School IT Budget
5 Essential Tips On How Outsourced IT Services Can Help You Get Ready For Next Year
As school leaders one of your key responsibilities is the oversight and management of your school’s budget. With this task comes the balancing of many competing projects and priorities, with the key goal being to spend money on the things that will improve student outcomes.
While the money you spend on IT does support your overall educational goals, any savings in that area could be reallocated to other programs. So how can charter schools better identify the biggest sources of their IT spending and then work to get the most value from that investment?
We know your time is valuable. We’d love for you to read the whole blog, but if you don’t have time, check out our 30-Second Summary
1. Where Can You Spend More Wisely?
There are a few common areas where charter schools can save on their IT spending. Many schools don’t have a long-term IT strategy, so they fall into a pattern of break-fix. Things break and are replaced piecemeal, often without thinking about the overall technology infrastructure.
By creating a three- to five-year IT plan, schools can make sure they have the equipment they need to support their programs. Before buying student or teacher devices, school leaders need to ask what they’ll be used for, are they budgeting to replace them in two or more years and if those devices will meet the teachers’ and students’ needs. Only after answering these questions can leader select the right devices for their school.
On an infrastructure level, schools can plan out any equipment upgrades and ensure any new pieces of equipment are compatible with the existing network. They can also better plan for any large expenditures instead of being hit with a large bill when equipment suddenly fails.
2. Make Maintenance Part Of Your IT Strategy
Including a maintenance plan for your technology assets is another good way to get more from your IT spending. With annual maintenance, all your IT assets will last longer and be less likely to break. Buying higher-quality equipment and maintaining it diligently can actually end up costing you less than buying cheaper equipment that has to be replaced more often. You want to spend proactively to avoid spending massively.
Think of it like you would your own home maintenance – replacing filters, servicing HVAC systems annually and doing regular cleaning and upkeep will give you a more reliable, cost-effective living environment. Just like this, maintenance gives you a more dependable IT environment.
3. Get The Right Input From Your Staff
It can be tempting to just buy whatever is recommended when it comes to IT equipment. But instead of taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach, take the time to reach out to teachers and get their input. What types of equipment would they like to use but don’t have? What do they need to run their classroom technology?
Bringing teachers into the discussion ensures you’re getting the right equipment they’ll actually be able to use. This avoids spending on the wrong equipment that will just sit unused in the corner.
4. Be Strategic About E-RATE Spending
Leveraging E-rate effectively is the key to getting the most from these federal funds. Instead of buying cheaper equipment and rolling ongoing management costs into it, why don’t you use those funds to buy higher-quality equipment? Often, the management costs can be done cheaper outside of E-rate.
5. Treat IT Like Your Other Educational Goals
Just like you’re working toward an overarching goal for your school, you need to have an understanding of where you are today, where you want your technology to go and how you can best use it to support your instructional goals.
Share Your Experiences:
How do you approach IT planning for your school? Do you bring in teachers and other shareholders to discuss technology priorities? Share your thoughts in the comments below.