Ed-tech leaders still face tough budget constraints.

School district technology leaders aren’t too optimistic that their ed-tech budgets will increase over the next year, and funding remains among the top challenges that face ed-tech leaders, according to the Consortium for School Networking’s first annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey, released at CoSN’s annual conference in San Diego.

CoSN hopes the results will help K-12 decision-makers better evaluate how technology can affect teaching and learning.

“This first-ever, annual survey identifies key challenges faced by school district IT leaders and provides key baseline data around where we are with technology leadership in school systems today. The data will measure our progress toward making technology an integral component of 21st-century teaching and learning,” said Keith Krueger, CoSN’s chief executive.

Here are seven key findings from the survey:

Eighty percent of school district IT leaders predict flat or declining ed-tech budgets.

While respondents’ ed-tech budgets ranged from less than $100,000 to more than $1 million, the survey notes, four out of five respondents said their ed-tech budgets will remain the same, or will be even tighter, in the near future.

When asked to name their top three priorities for the 2012-13 school year, K-12 technology leaders identified Bring Your Own Device programs, assessment readiness, and broadband access.

This focus on assessment readiness is a reflection of the Common Core State Standards and its use of online assessments in 2014. Research has revealed that many school districts do not yet have the bandwidth to support online testing for students.

Budget and resource limitations, changing the culture of teaching, and breaking down district-wide barriers are ed-tech leaders’ biggest challenges.

“IT leaders did not identify any of the traditional business and administrative initiatives (like payroll or HR) among their most pressing challenges, reflecting the move in IT to a focus on the learning environment,” according to the report.

The most common titles, when it comes to school district IT leadership, are chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information office (CIO).

More than half of IT leaders—58 percent—report directly to their district superintendent.

Many CTOs have held their positions for more than six years, indicating that the job position is relatively stable.

Eighty percent of IT leaders are in charge of both instructional and administrative technology for central and school-based staff.

School district CTO salaries tend to lag behind salaries of comparable positions in the business field.

Thirty percent of surveyed IT leaders earn less than $70,000 per year, and 35 percent reported that they earn between $70,000 and $99,000. Thirty-two percent said they earn more than $100,000.

The three factors that carry the most weight in determining salary are geographic region, educational background, and the size of the school district. In the business field, CTOs tend to earn six-figure salaries more consistently than those in education.

See also:

Ed-tech leaders brace for online testing

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Laura Ascione
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