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Budgeting | Feature

How to Find the Simplest Cost Savings

In many cases, technological advances can lead to the simplest cost savings. For instance, moving from print textbooks to digital content can make for substantial savings. The digital shift alone, however, won't come anywhere close to easing the budget stresses everybody in public education feels now. IT departments are asked everyday to find ways to cut costs, just as is the case with every other department in a school district.

If it hasn't always been the case that any discussion involving education was inexorably tied to a discussion about money as well, we all know the two have been entwined for many years now. What's more, given the state of both the global economy and government budgets at every level, it will be hard to talk about one without the other for a long time to come.

In many cases, technological advances can lead to the simplest cost savings. For instance, moving from print textbooks to digital content can make for substantial savings. As Senior Contributing Editor Dian Schaffhauser points out in her feature "Ease the Budget Burden…and Regain Control of Your IT Costs" in the current issue of T.H.E. Journal, Forsyth County (GA) Schools spent $90 per students in 2008 on educational materials, primarily print textbooks. This year, the district will spend $12 per student. Some of that will still involve print, but most of it is digital content.

The digital shift alone, however, won't come anywhere close to easing the budget stresses everybody in public education feels now. IT departments are asked everyday to find ways to cut costs, just as is the case with every other department in a school district. In her feature, Schaffhauser has found some interesting ways that district IT departments are doing that.

Some seem obvious. For instance, in an age when cell phone use is ubiquitous, why are school districts still paying $75 a month for every pay phone on its campuses? Why aren't school districts making sure computers are turned off at night, especially when, in the case of the Judson School District in San Antonio, IT managers found they could save $30,000 a year by doing so?

Some of the ways Schaffhauser found to cut IT costs are not as obvious though, even if they are just as intriguing.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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