How to sustain technology funding in schools

As part of the research, Digital Wish interviewed 27 ed-tech leaders about sustainable technology initiatives.

“As a trend, nearly all of the most sustainable programs were funded by multiple sources,” according to the report. “Administrators running programs with just a single source of funding voiced ‘fear’ that their initiatives were vulnerable to cancellation. Experienced administrators were adamant about the need for training as an integral part of every school day. Nearly all had supplemented convention workshop-based professional development with teacher peer-support systems and daily mentor programs.”

A large majority (88 percent) said that technology budgets are one of their school’s largest sources of ed-tech funding. Respondents were able to choose more than one funding option, and here are some other findings:

  • Fifty-four percent have used other budget line items for technology.
  • Forty-five percent said their schools have applied for other grants.
  • Fifty-seven percent said they do fundraising.
  • Thirty-seven percent use student mentors to help support their technology programs.
  • Nearly two-thirds said they receive donations from outside organizations.
  • Thirteen percent use eRate funds.

Thirteen percent of respondents reported that they receive community donations to fund their ed-tech initiatives. Of those respondents, technology funding donations come from:

  • The PTA (34 percent).
  • Local businesses (23 percent).
  • Local foundations (15 percent).
  • Local clubs such as the Lions or Rotary (12 percent).
  • Religious groups (8 percent).
  • Military or veterans’ groups (1 percent).

Participants also offered advice when it comes to asking community members for donations. Some said real estate agencies and banks are potential donors, because good school systems have a positive impact on property values. Others said seldom-approached groups, such as dental practices, are eager to donate. Parents also might have information on whether their businesses or employers are likely to donate.

The most common non-technology budget line items used to fund technology programs are:

  • Textbooks
  • Supplies
  • Professional development
  • Library services
  • Special education
  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • Facilities
  • Supplemental

(Next page: Other advice from survey respondents)

Laura Ascione

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