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Top 4 ways district leaders deal with funding obstacles

Annual survey reveals top 3 challenges facing district IT leadership

district-ITSchool budgets show a marked increase from a year ago, with one in three districts reporting budget increases this year, according to the second annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

Released on the first day of CoSN’s annual conference, the survey reveals that although more districts are seeing their financial restrictions ease a bit, nearly half of participants said they still lack the funding to support enhanced ed-tech and implement new classroom technologies.

“While the feedback from district leaders offers optimism, it’s overwhelmingly apparent: Districts still lack the necessary resources to provide transformative learning environments,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Moving forward, the survey should inform the decisions school system leaders, as well as policy makers, make in establishing learning environments powered through technology.”

(Next page: Top survey results from districts)

School chief technology officers (CTOs) reported that their top four strategies for dealing with inadequate funding are:

  1. Delay replacements or defer maintenance
  2. Leverage eRate funding
  3. Locate grants
  4. Consolidate networks and servers

CTOs said that their top three challenges are changing the culture of teaching and learning in their districts, dealing with budget constraints and lack of resources, and breaking down silos.

Just 18 percent of district CTOs are fully ready for online assessments in 2014, 83 percent said digital materials will make up more than 50 percent of district education resources in the next three years, and 51 percent said they operate some level of BYOD in their districts, with 19 percent saying they had no interest in BYOD.

When it comes to ever-troubled school district budgets, the survey found some improvements in technology funding. Thirty-four percent of district CTOs said their budgets are increasing, and 66 percent said their budgets are flat or declining. In 2013, only 19 percent of survey respondents reported increasing budgets.

Despite those increases, 47 percent of CTOs said their budgets aren’t enough to meet school board expectations.

When it comes to CTOs:

  • 50 percent will retire within 10 years
  • 52 percent report to the superintendent
  • 77 percent are in charge of both information technology and educational technology

The survey was conducted with MDR and sponsored by SchoolDude. It measures how school tech leaders are able to leverage technology and meet teaching and learning goals.


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