Study: Administrators anticipate spending more on tech-related items

The 2020-21 school year budgeting focus is on technology more than other education company offerings, according to a recent survey of administrators nationwide.

The pandemic’s impact on school and district budgets for 2020-21 school year includes plans to spend more budget dollars on technology-related items and less on print-based products. That’s according to a national survey with 1,465 administrator respondents, 628 at the district level and 837 school principals, released by Interactive Educational Systems Designs, Inc. (IESD), in partnership with MCH Strategic Data.

The aim of the research was to share data and insight into priorities, timing of decision-making and challenges currently driving buying decisions with education companies. “Research like this will help education companies adjust their plans to better serve the K-12 education community—with product modifications, support services and communication strategies that meet the needs of districts and schools throughout the U.S.,” says Ellen Bialo, president of IESD.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of respondents (nearly 95%) work for districts that switched to online teaching and learning to complete the 2019-20 school year. More than two-thirds reported using a video conference system when they had not been doing so previously, and about the same portion of respondents said they were already using digital components of core curriculum programs but had expanded their use. In addition, a majority reported expanded use of e-books and other digital reading resources as well as free supplemental and/or practice programs.

By early June, a majority (57%) of administrators planned to begin decision-making on purchases for the new school year. Others indicated being ready to make purchases between in July, August or even as late as September.

Also read: Ed-tech procurement in the COVID era

When asked about their 2020-21 spending plans for 13 budget items, the most frequent response for each item was that they will spend about the same.

The budget items for which respondents most often reported plans to spend more were technology-related products.

Less than 18% of respondents, when asked about spending the remainder of their 2019-20 budget, had plans to hold the remainder of it and carry it over to 2020-21.

The “K-12 Education and the Coronavirus Pandemic” survey report, as well as data files with cross-tabs for organizations who want to do additional analysis, is available for $199.

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of DA.

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