How to sustain technology funding in schools

Respondents urged school leaders to convince school boards that technology is not a one-time expense, but an ongoing expense.

Only 61 percent of schools spent all of the funds in their budget categories last year, and 39 percent had unspent funds left over.

Grant applications are often a tricky area. Many applications, especially those for federal grants, and detailed and take months to complete. Schools with fewer personnel or limited funds to hire grant writers often have to pass on these opportunities.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they have not applied for any grants. Of those who have applied, 11 percent used an IT person, and 12 percent used a professional grant writer to complete the application. Thirty-five percent of those who did apply for grants reported raising $10,000 or more each year, and 26 percent raised at least $20,000.

Nearly half of schools surveyed (43 percent) said they do not do any fundraising, and of the 57 percent who said they do raise funds, 36 percent identified product sales as their top method. PTAs are the most frequent source of fundraising initiatives. Forty-three percent of schools that fund raise raise more than $10,000 each year, and 20 percent raise more than $20,000.

Four percent of respondents reported having no technology-related professional development. Twenty-eight percent have technology training between one to two times a year, 23 percent receive technology training two to four times a year, and 21 percent are trained between five and nine times per year. Thirteen percent receive training monthly, 7 percent train weekly, and 4 percent receive daily technology training.

“The schools with the most sustainable programs all took a blended approach to funding, harvesting a wide array of revenue opportunities from across their communities—each of which contributed a portion of their total financial need,” the authors write. “The stronger PTAs would fundraise, and some sought out foundational grants. The business community made the connection between a strong school technology program and preparing their own future workforce—and they made donations. The most engaged communities voted for higher budgets for school technology. However, the burden of community engagement rests entirely on the schools. If the schools don’t trigger these community connections, they simply won’t materialize.”

Laura Ascione

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