Four Ways Schools Can Thrive With Limited Budgets


With numerous states cutting back on education spending, schools and districts are finding themselves with serious deficits and limited spending ability.


As a result many valuable programs, such as full-day kindergarten, summer school, yellow bus transportation, education technology and projects that encourage parent involvement, are all being cut out nationwide.


Of course, parents and educators are protesting, and hopefully education budgets will not be slashed, but district superintendants and school principals need to be prepared for the worst and craft a cost-reduction plan to help save (or make) money.


Lets’ take a look at some ideas that might work for your school or district:


Go Green
With energy costs seemingly always on the rise, implementing some of the following ideas for energy efficiency might be a source for huge savings:

  • Outsource all data and server requirements to virtual server farms. By  eliminating in-house servers, you can seriously cut back on electricity spent running the servers 24/7 as well as on the requisite air conditioning that keeps server rooms cool.
  • Only buy energy efficient laptops, or use virtualized desktop computers.
  • Replace inkjet printers for individual teachers with shared network, laser printers with double-sided printing.
  • Use energy efficient lighting solutions (such as LED) for your school.


    Creating Student Data Efficiencies
    Using fully integrated student information systems eliminates hours of redundant data entry. Creating these efficiencies has far-reaching impact on unnecessary administrative costs.


    For example, instead of entering student information multiple times into multiple systems (library, cafeteria, transportation, etc.) an integrated SIS will automatically propagate all systems with a single entry.


    Another example is parent teacher conference scheduling. So much time (and paper) is wasted with forms being sent home, phone calls being made and endless schedule spreadsheets being prepared.


    However, with web-based scheduling solutions, districts and schools can significantly reduce the administrative cost and time spent typically associated with parent teacher conferences.


    Technology Fees
    Everyone wants their children to be well prepared to enter the workforce. In today’s Web 2.0 environment, that means providing cutting-edge technology education so when students graduate, they will be “digitally literate” and highly marketable.


    Asking parents to chip in with a $25 tech fee might be taking parent involvement to a new level – but it sure can go a long way in increasing school IT budgets.


    Although asking for money is never easy, in this case, the sales pitch is straightforward. If you want your kids to have access to costly tech tools that will enhance their education, you will need to participate financially.


    Buying Refurbished Goods
    Everyone likes getting brand-new stuff. But you can find refurbished products in excellent condition, for often less than half the price of the new version.


    Everything from laptops to chairs and more can be purchased in bulk with very significant savings.


    And if you are worried about buying junk, many computer resellers provide multi-year warranties, ensuring that schools don’t get stuck with lemons.


    Hopefully, some of these ideas will provide you with food for thought on how your school or district can thrive, even on a tight budget.



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