Seven proven ways to save on school budgets

“Our county is also saving money [by] automatically shutting down all computers at 5:30 each night,” said Ruth Allen, instructional technology specialist at Lambert High School in Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools.

Allen said teachers who are still working at this time can abort the automatic shutdown, but otherwise, any computer that was left on will not use electricity all evening.

Ron Walker, superintendent of Geary County Unified School District 475 in Kansas, said his district also found a quick way to save about $28,000 per year by asking employees to turn off their computers at night. “It costs an average of 35 cents [per week] to run each computer at night,” he said. “We have about 2,000 computers in the district. This is about $700 per week, $2,800 per month, and over 10 months, we save $28,000.”

2. Go paperless.

“We found a way to save more than $6,000 a year and increase our productivity at the same time,” said Brenda Speer, superintendent of the Bynum Independent School District in Texas. “We decided to use our SchoolReach notification system to eliminate mailers. We stopped sending out individual student progress reports and report cards. Now, we send them home with the students and send a SchoolReach voice-mail message alerting the parents.”

By using a paperless notification system, Speer’s district saved an instant $700 a month on postage and found that communication with parents also increased. After realizing the system was a success, the district began using SchoolReach to send out paperless newsletters, announcements, and reminders.

“Our school reduced copying charges and the amount of paper we purchased by sending our flyers, bulletins, and newsletters out by eMail,” said Kelly Hamilton, librarian at Hunt Elementary School in Plano, Texas. Families without internet access or an eMail address can still receive these materials the traditional way.

For the Oregon City School District, switching from direct printing to a print server model has saved money and eliminated unnecessary printing costs, said Micah Baker, the district’s technology coordinator. The print server helps administrators analyze printer usage, report usage statistics to principals who then can work with staff to reduce waste, and crack down on student abuse by linking a user name with every printing job.

Meris Stansbury

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