It’s no secret that school district leaders across the nation are under immense pressure to do more with diminishing budgets. Unfortunately, every fiscal year, many school districts are forced to make tough decisions about which of their many essential programs to keep, cut or delay. What some schools may not realize is that investing in technology can not only boost the bottom line but also support flexibility, efficiency and innovation.
If the pandemic has made anything clear, it is this: In our fast-changing world, technology plays an essential role in business and learning continuity, and technological cutbacks and delays can do more harm than good.
DISCOVER: Understand how network monitoring works to conserve resources.
A June report from the Hackett Group found that “digital world class” organizations that spend about 3 percent more on technology than their peers can realize roughly a 29 percent decrease in costs related to technology, labor, outsourcing and overhead across general and administrative functions.
Could school districts see a similar return on their technology investments? IT leaders such as Lee County Schools CIO Dwayne Alton believes they can. By working with his finance department colleagues, he says, he was able to plan strategic upgrades over time that have led to significant savings for his Florida district.
K–12 Digital Transformation Goes Beyond Savings
IT leaders spearheading digital transformation across K–12 districts are inspired by more than cost containment. For them, it is a holistic endeavor that embraces back-end systems through classroom tools. Adopting cloud infrastructure, for example, allows districts to host their own applications or deploy services such as data analytics as well as backup and recovery.
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Other leaders find that upgrades like the cloud contribute to efficiency and flexibility. “It has all the management of the network in the cloud,” says Wade Grant, director of educational technology for the Vicksburg Warren School District. “You open up a web interface, and whether you’re in Timbuktu or Kalamazoo, you’re sitting there managing the network remotely.”
Finally, as schools continue to wrestle with post-pandemic learning, technological upgrades can even help usher in a new educational paradigm that challenges how, when and where students learn.