Educators Deal With Increasingly Tight School IT Budgets

Schools deal with increasingly tight IT budgets

Today’s education institutions are under rising pressure to integrate technological systems into the classrooms and overall curriculum. At the same time, however, school administrators also have to keep in line with, in many cases, shrinking IT budgets. So how are decision-makers in the education industry striking a balance between the amount they can spend and their technological resources? One of the main strategies involves the use of the cloud, making cloud performance increasingly critical for schools struggling with tight IT budgets.

Federal grants to address budgetary constraints
District Administration contributor Alison DeNisco noted that one of the techniques educational institutions leverage to bolster their budgets is to apply for federal grants. These can range in application, but a number of schools currently leverage grants to allow for the purchase of computers and technology systems.

“Some administrators are unaware that the flexibility of federal grants can help districts achieve budget goals,” DeNisco wrote. “For example, Title I funds can be used to support school-wide priorities by tracking the time staff spen[t] with targeted students.”

Class in the cloud: Rise in Web-based resources
Another beneficial avenue for addressing tight IT budgets is to utilize cloud-based systems. According to the most recent State of the Cloud Report from CDW Government, the use of cloud technology in the education sector has been on the rise. In fact, 40 percent of K-12 institutions noted that they utilize the cloud for data storage; another 36 percent said the cloud brings conferencing and collaboration benefits to their schools and 33 percent said they leveraged cloud-based office and productivity tools.

An Ecessa infographic noted that 4 in 5 districts currently utilize online courses within their curriculum.

Matthew Lynch, editor or The Edvocate, stated in a Huffington Post article, “Simply put, cloud storage saves space, money and time for teachers, parents, students and administrators.”

Within the next two years, schools will spend approximately 35 percent of their IT budgets on cloud technology. Currently, the cloud saves schools as much as 20 percent on their IT costs, and this figure will rise 27 percent by 2016.

As this trend continues, a number of vendors are creating educational materials specifically for cloud use, including Waterford Institute, which recently launched its new Web-based reading curriculum.

“Schools only need a computer and Internet to access Waterford Reading in the cloud – no servers or additional hardware required,” noted Mikkel Storm, Waterford Institute vice president of product and marketing. “This makes the program even more accessible and saves schools significant hardware and maintenance costs.”

Cloud performance critical for education institutions
As schools depend more on cloud-based resources to address budgetary constraints, cloud performance becomes even more essential. To ensure the constant availability of these critical resources, a number of schools have turned to Ecessa for the never down experience they require. Through virtualization, educational institutions will see considerable increases in network bandwidth coming at an affordable costs. This economical solution ensures continuous access to cloud resources, as well as more predictable network performance overall.

Districts leveraging a wide area network can significantly benefit from Ecessa’s WAN virtualization solution, WANworX. This system can provide improved network performance and enhanced management all the while saving the district considerable costs.