I’m not sure if contributing editor Ellen Ullman likes doing her taxes or not, but she sure seemed to enjoy digging into the finances of some of the country’s more innovative school districts (Smart Ways to Save). Ullman discovered some savings: Alvord (CA) Unified School District cut $60,000 from its annual budget by restructuring its printer footprint; Thomas Starr King Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District saved more than $50,000 buying refurbished Macs; and Vancouver (WA) Public Schools realized millions of dollars in cost savings through the automation and streamlining of its logistics and purchasing systems.
For further punishment, we tasked Ellen to survey schools on the benefits of Asset Management Software, one of the most brain-numbing, yet important, assignments on our editorial calendar each year (Take Charge). Like it or not, these back office systems are what can really make district-level financial management better, which ultimately means more money for students in the classroom.
All of the anecdotes in this issue don’t focus on frugality however. Each points out new and interesting ideas on how to re-imagine and change teaching and learning. My favorite quote is from CIO advisor Kyle Barger, chief technology officer at Duncanville Independent School District in Duncanville, Texas, who is experimenting with edtech rental kiosks in libraries: “People forget education is a big business. I have 14,000 employees—students and staff. I’m a big company. It’s an exciting adventure to [use] this model. We’re placing our first machine this month.”
— Kevin Hogan