Schools are an integral part of society, with roots entrenched in the economy and an unquestionable role to play in building the future of the country. The Great Recession in the mid-2000s demonstrated that while federal stimulus can promote the adoption of technology in public education budgets, during recessionary periods it becomes a challenge to continue building and maintaining technologically well-equipped schools.
As we move into another recession, educational technology
leaders will have many tough decisions to make as they attempt to keep the impact of an economic slowdown away from the classroom. Technology leaders in schools must understand that the surge in demand for technology to maintain remote learning
will not mitigate the decision to cut costs. To avoid affecting critical pieces of the technology department, here are three ways to recession-proof the technology department.
Outline the Costs Well in Advance
Technology isn’t cheap and it can make a dent in your education budget if not planned for. This is why it’s necessary to outline the costs, and maintain a budget for the renewal of standard hardware and software in order to leverage bulk buying discounts later.
Determine the Must-have Tech Positions
An economic slowdown will undoubtedly lead to some difficult conversations about which positions are crucial for the school. To avoid making the wrong moves, develop a clear blueprint of the roles and responsibilities of the positions that support every program. This will ensure you are able to anticipate the impact of a budget cut on the IT team.
Avoid Yearly Renewal Contracts
During a recession, many tech vendors experience an increase in operating costs that are then passed on to schools and districts. Consider signing multi-year contracts to lock-in costs at stable pricing. You might want to think about multi-year contracts for tech partnerships in areas like data management systems, assessment and student information, and teaching programs.
The recession is inevitably causing uncertainty, and the technology budget
will remain a live wire, especially considering the fiscal aftermath left by the pandemic. For technology leaders, the goal must be to avoid the lasting effect of budget cuts on the technology department. Investing in multi-year pricing contracts, identifying critical team roles, and budgeting for renewals well in advance can alleviate some of the impacts.