Seven proven ways to save on school budgets

“By replacing old digital PBX [Private-Branch Exchange] lines at each campus with a central, district-wide VoIP system, we have been able to reduce costs for telecommunication services,” Kesecker said. “Reductions were projected at $5 per student, per year—[and] actual savings might end up being double that by the end of the first year.”

7. Ask for a discount.

Sometimes, saving money can be as easy as asking a question.

“Any school personnel ordering supplies and equipment should always call the company to get quotes for item costs and shipping,” said John Baker, technology education instructor at Deer Lakes Middle School in Pennsylvania. “Too many of us use the printed catalog fees, when many companies will provide a discount for schools if you ask. I know it takes a little extra time to make the calls, but the savings can add up.”

Baker also recommends combining orders, because during requisition time several different teachers might order from the same company, yet each order is processed individually with separate purchase orders.

“The district ends up spending extra money for shipping costs for every order. They also frequently lose out on volume discounts, whether [these are] based on total money spent or [the] quantity of specific items,” said Baker.

According to Deats of Midland College, when you’re considering audio-visual purchases, some vendors will allow a format upgrade (such as videocassette to DVD) on a title your school already owns for a reduced cost. Some vendors also give better discounts based on the size of your order.

Designating a specific card for purchases can help, too.

“We use a purchasing card [credit card] that awards us back a percentage of the amount spent—much like the Discover card does for an individual,” said John French, the principal, safety coordinator, and transportation director for Stockton High School in Missouri. “We use it to pay for everything we can, such as travel, book orders, utilities, et cetera. Besides that, we bargain hunt like crazy.”

Meris Stansbury is an associate editor for eSchool News.



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