Budget & Resources – Investigating
Element: Efficiency and Cost Savings
Description: Innovative funding for digital learning leverages technologies to improve teaching and learning as well as to increase efficiency and cost savings. A cross-functional District budget development team is formed that is composed of District leaders, key stakeholders, and subject matter experts who collectively represent the District’s interests. This team employs strategies for calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) for all technology resources; focusing on learning-enabling technology, digital resources and instructional practice.
Possible Next Step: A cross-functional District leadership and budget development team does a high-level review of current District, State, and Federal financial processes. They identify current barriers to budgeting for digital learning and collect strategies and best practice examples of innovative funding structures and scenarios that effectively determine Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). The team identifies innovative solutions to funding the transition to digital learning.
Element: Alignment to District and School Plans
Description: Priorities for budget and resources are clearly linked to district- and building-level strategic and tactical plans and to continuous improvement goals. All expenditures must be justified as supportive of these plans. Innovative programs are funded conditionally upon their alignment to the district’s vision and mission.
Possible Next Step: District leaders ensure that annual academic planning processes inform and guide technology budget development activities. A cross-functional budget team identifies best practice examples of district-and building-level strategic and tactical plans that map funding structures to technology-enabled learning tools and resources, and 21st Century skill development.
Element: Consistent Funding Streams
Description: The District has consistent and flexible funding that enables equitable access to optimal learning environments. Budgets for technology-enabled learning tools and resources are addressed in short and long-term fiscal plans. Funding sources are identified in the District’s annual maintenance and operation budgets with minimal reliance on grants or other temporary sources. Funding for digital learning is integrated across multiple budget areas where appropriate.
Possible Next Step: District leaders investigate and analyze innovative and best practice methods for consistent and sustainable funding of digital learning environments and technology-enabled learning initiatives as part of annual maintenance and operation budgets. District leaders and budget development teams also investigate alternative funding sources (i.e., public/private partnerships, community donations, foundation awards, etc.) that can assist the district initiate or maintain consistent funding.
Element: Learning Return on Investment
Description: All metrics for review of budget priorities and cost-efficiency are based on their demonstrated relationship to student learning goals. District leaders have strategies and tools for measuring Return On Investment (ROI) in digital learning; focusing on learning-enabling technologies, resources, instructional practice and student learning.
Possible Next Step: District leaders investigate return-on-investment models and metrics that can be used to relate budget priorities for digital learning to student learning goals.