Seven proven ways to save on school budgets

“Our themes are created by grade or building to provide only those instructional technology tools to support the curriculum. Theme-based desktops can be created on the fly in a matter of minutes to support a lesson or unit,” Partch said. “The thin-client desktop devices include some legacy PCs and Macs but for the most part are now HP t5540 thin-client devices that can be purchased for much less than a traditional desktop and require very little setup.”

He concluded: “The real savings in this solution is that all applications run and are maintained on the servers, thus eliminating the need to manage desktop clients.”

5. Create wish lists.

As with personal shopping, it might be best to hold off on purchases until either a sale comes along, or some extra cash is freed.

“When we consider purchasing audio-visual programs, including documentaries, lecture series, and feature films, we develop ‘wish lists’ and wait until many items go on sale,” such as from conference specials or other sales promotions, said John Deats, director of the Learning Resource Center at Midland College in Texas. He added: “Savings of 20 to 50 percent or more are not uncommon.”

“Schools don’t even have enough money for supplies and equipment,” said Robert Tolmach, CEO of WellGood Classrooms LLC. “Sales of cookie dough and wrapping paper are burdensome and grossly inefficient.”

According to Tolmach, a new nonprofit organization called ClassWish makes it easy for teachers and schools to attract the financial support they need. Teachers and school leaders create wish lists, just like shopping online. Parents, neighbors, alumni, local businesses, and others see exactly what is needed and how they can help. Contributions are tax-deductible, and ClassWish sends the resources to the schools at no cost.

6. Converge networks.

“Digital content delivery over our IP network has allowed us to reduce significantly the cost of wiring our school,” said Mel Pace, director of media, instruction, and technology services for Florida’s Osceola County Schools. “We no longer have to run coaxial cabling in our new schools, thus saving $75,000-plus per new school building.”

Pace’s district also is moving to IP-based surveillance systems to make further use of its IP network and eliminate redundant coaxial cabling in schools.

For the Wallowa and Enterprise school districts in Oregon, using voice-over-IP service has saved thousands of dollars, thanks to the advice of Josh Kesecker, the districts’ technology coordinator.

Meris Stansbury

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