This post is part of an ongoing series of chapters from the book CHOICE. Please view this post for an introduction and table of contents. To keep up with each new chapter published, please subscribe.
This is a simple, but hard learned shift in mindset. Learn to think in percentages instead of dollar amounts. This goes for the 1:1 program and beyond. It is a minor shift in thinking that has a big impact.
Technology expenses are becoming one of the biggest lines for school districts. Depending on the size of your district, you are dealing with numbers that are out of our usual comprehension. Moving to percentage thinking keeps the numbers manageable. Making it easy to visualize where the money is going.
Students make up roughly 80% of the users in school districts. They rarely command 80% of the technology budget. Students are the primary technology users in the district. Make sure the budget reflects this.
Many districts have this backwards or 50/50 at best. Large parts of the budget go to tools, devices, and software specifically for teachers and staff. Not technology used by the students.
When you are spending money on technology make it accessible to everyone as much as possible. This will help build technology as a platform for your district to grow, not a barrier between people.
It's impossible to say 100% of the budget goes to students. Situations do arise where technology is required not used by students. The district’s accounting software comes to mind. This is completely fine and expected. Just be aware of the percentage of the budget that is going to things that are not being used by the majority.
Trying something new by providing a peak into the writing process when possible or interesting.
I’m going to say it again just so it sinks in… Start thinking in percentages. It’s a small change in how you look at money that makes a big difference. You are spending in a non-profit, fixed budget environment. Percentages mean more than dollar amounts.
This was a strange chapter to throw into a book about technology, but it really is important to me. And this is partly my education in public accounting creeping through. No technology program will have success if there is no financial plan behind it. Financial decisions will need to be made. Percentage keep them in perspective.
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