Honey, I Shrunk The Budget!

ShrinkingBudgetsIf you work in today’s school districts, you’re no stranger to IT budget pressures. Some districts get their budgets slashed year after year, while others just have to do more with less—every day. How do you move your district ahead with new technologies and applications, when the budget stays the same?  Magic?

It’s almost as if there’s some hidden clause in every IT director’s job description. You know, the one that says “must perform miracles” and have super powers to “do more with less”? While it’s an ongoing battle against shrinking budgets for IT Support staff, there are some ideas to help tip the scales in your favor.

THE Journal recently published a study, revealing the secrets that technology leaders use to manage budgets smart in tough times. A panel of CTOs and Technology Decision makers across multiple school districts were asked for practical advice on managing education IT in today’s tough economic times.

Here are the 3 major areas the panel discussed that were crucial to their districts, and will help you work within the constraints of your budget and move the technology initiatives of your school forward:

  1. Auditing and tracking of processes and asset usage – Make smarter decisions on underused technologies and applications—no more guess and testing. Cut those that will have the least impact on your classrooms.
  2. Managing hardware costs – Push vendors harder for deals, extend existing hardware lifecycles, reduce costs of support and opt for long term warranties. The cost of hardware significantly impacts school technology budgets.
  3. Green policies leading to significant savings – Minimize printing, use power management policies, and low cost hardware recycling. You’d be surprised what a little computer management can do to your bottom line.

I’ll go into depth with each of these three areas of savings in future blog posts, so watch for them. Smarter approaches to school IT budgets is the new trend in town, and it’s not going away. Budgets aren’t going to increase like they did in the good old days. Paying attention to IT efficiencies allows schools to reinvest into the new technologies and infrastructures they need.

Schools that support the transition towards 21st century learning are the ones that can make the maximum impact on student achievement. How are you addressing your budget constraints?

Maria Osipova

Maria is a marketing campaign manager at Faronics by day and mom, reader, runner by night. Relying on coffee and iGoogle to manage the hectic days, she is interested in emerging technologies, tools for education and social marketing.