Technology Planning/Budget

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Introduction · Before We Plan · Introduction to Plan · Dissemination/Public Relations · Vision · Current State · Goals · Implementation Plan · Implementation Timeline · Budget/Funding · Approval · Monitoring/Evaluation · Appendices

Budgeting[edit | edit source]

Developing a budget for a long range technology plan is not an easy task. The planning committee has no way to know what the technological frontier looks like at the plans end. Items that cost tens of thousands of dollars may be fractions of that cost in three years. For all the difficulties in creating a proposed budget, the inclusion of this budget is critical to the adoption of the plan. The planning committee needs to show that they are being responsible and realistic with the direction of the plan. The plan must not be so over the top that there is no way the projects will get funded. The committee must show that what they are proposing is realistic with the funds that are available to the district over the life of the plan.

This is one area of the long range plan that requires supervision from the Technology Director. The director will work very closely with the rest of the committee to ensure that budget numbers used are accurate and that all areas are accounted for. For a well prepared Technology Director, this will be no problem.

Building the Budget[edit | edit source]

There are ways to help alleviate the stress involved with building a budget. One of the required duties is to provide the committee with the current technology budget along with any known service increases. This will help the committee understand the current budget. Just as important is a replacement schedule that shows the current status of technology in the organization. Finally, any additional funding sources that will impact the final budget, such as the Classrooms for the Future Grant or e-Rate need to be disclosed.

Replacement Schedule[edit | edit source]

A replacement schedule is a wise practice in any industry that relies on technology. In education, it is just as important. A proper replacement schedule will show several key pieces of information to the committee. The schedule shows the equipment in the district arranged by when it was purchased and when it should be retired and replaced. It is important to note that with technological advancements, items on the replacement schedule may be replaced with different equipment. As an example, the 500 desktops purchased 4 years ago may be replaced with 500 laptops this year.

With a valid replacement schedule in place, the planning committee will have a rough idea of the funds required to keep technology in the district current. Only then can the real impact of new initiatives be determined.

Example Replacement Schedule[edit | edit source]

Product Quantity Schedule Year Purchased Year to Replaced
27" iMac 1 5 Year 2014 2019
Chromeboxes 2 5 Year 2015 2020
Lenovo Desktops 4 5 Year 2016 2021
Lenovo Touch Screen 2 5 Year 2017 2022
Projectors 2 5 Year 2014 2019
Laptops 1 3 Year 2015 2018
WAP 1 5 Year 2014 2019
iPads 15 5 Year 2017 2022

Take note that the 2 Chromeboxes purchased in 2015 may be replaced with desktops once 2020 arrives.[1]

Funding[edit | edit source]

While many members of the planning committee may have a good understanding of public education funding, it is not a requirement to get through a technology plan. It isn't as important to know where every dollar is coming from as much as to know what dollars are available to you. Equally important is knowing what initiatives can be or are already tied to outside funding sources. This section takes a brief look at some of the funding options available to the committee. Portions of this section have been taken directly from the wikibook, Directing Technology: the Job of the School District Technology Director, and have been noted.

General Fund[edit | edit source]

The majority of most technology dollars will come from the General Fund. This is where school tax dollars are put. Available funds from this source are limited only by the determinations of district administration and the school board.

E-rate[edit | edit source]

Another available funding source for technology coordinators is the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund, or the E-rate program. The E-rate program was adopted as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This program was implemented to allow schools and libraries to implement The goal of the program is to ensure schools and libraries have access to modern information and telecommunications services in an affordable manner. Each public school district can apply for a discount based on the number of qualifying students for the National School Lunch Program. Districts can receive discounts from 20% to 90% based on qualifying students. The program has a $2.25 billion annual cap.[2]


Grants[edit | edit source]

Grants are outside funding sources that schools can apply for. If awarded, the funds may or may not have limitations attached to them. Two types of grants to be aware of are entitlement grants and competitive grants.

Entitlement Grants[edit | edit source]

Entitlement grants are funds the district is entitled to based on a predetermined formula. These funds may be determined by items such as student enrollment or low income student percentages. These funds are often not limited in what can be purchased; however, purchases can be required to benefit certain groups, such as low income students.

Competitive Grants[edit | edit source]

"Competitive grants are given by means of a review of the applicant’s project proposals. The grant agency selects proposals and decides grant amounts. The grant proposals designing projects with greater impact and more certain outcomes are given priority over proposals where projects will have less impact and less certain outcomes. Typically, most competitive grant applications will be evaluated based on the applicant’s educational goals such as potential benefit to the students and how well the project deals with an educational need.[4]"

Building the Budget[edit | edit source]

Once the proposed items are identified, they need to be recorded and a cost analysis needs to be done. This requires the committee to determine the cost of each initiative. It is understood that the costs are estimates only and there is no way the committee can determine actual costs of many of the initiatives. It is important however for the cost analysis to be as close as possible. Almost always, it is better to judge higher than the cost may actually be. Committee members must be wary of assuming costs will come down during the life of the plan.

Mapping and Documenting the Budget[edit | edit source]

Once each cost analysis is complete, it is time map out the plan. This is where much of the preparation work comes into play. Knowing the status of the replacement schedule, the current budget, and the available funding are all required at this time. In addition, the committee should have an estimated number of the total amount of funds available to them each during each year of the plan.

Armed with as much knowledge as possible, it is now time to build the estimated budget. This section is often just a simple chart showing the main segments of the budget and there costs over the life of the plan. The proposed budget does not show each individual initiative. They are buried within each corresponding section. The chart is then inserted into the document with a short narrative documenting any important notes.

Example Budget[edit | edit source]

Item 2015-2016 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Contracted Services $150,000 $150,000 $150,000 $150,000 $150,000
Software $340,000 $340,000 $340,000 $340,000 $340,000
Hardware $500,000 $500,000 $850,000 $1,200,000 $1,550,000
Network $150,000 $150,000 $100,000 $100,000 $100,000
Professional Development $28,000 $28,000 $28,000 $32,000 $32,000
Support Staff $700,000 $700,000 $725,000 $830,000 $860,000
Telephones $148,000 $700,000 $148,000 $148,000 $148,000
Maintenance $23,000 $23,000 $23,000 $23,000 $23,000
Staff Development $22,000 $22,000 $22,000 $22,000 $22,000
Total $2,610,000 $2,610,000 $2,386,000 $2,845,000 $3,225,000

References[edit | edit source]

  1. .
  2. United States Department of Education. (2007, April) E-rate Program: Discounted telecommunication services.
  3. Directing Technology: the Job of the School District Technology Director.
  4. Directing Technology: the Job of the School District Technology Director.