Economy Impacts School Budgets

By: Absolute Team | 11/25/2008

According to a new survey, schools all across the US are feeling the effects of the downturn in the economy. The study, released by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), is based on a survey of school superintendents from October of 2008. It finds that schools across the nation are cutting costs in response to shrinking budgets, which could "threaten gains in student achievement and progress in narrowing the achievement gap."

The study is very in depth, looking to many areas of budgets and cost-custting, from thermostats to staff levels. Currently, 67% of those superintendents polled describe their districts as "inadequately funded."

Highlights from the study:

  • 36% of superintendents have increased class sizes
  • 35% have reduced instructional material
  • 30% are considering lay offs, while 48% have already reduced staff-level hiring
  • 95% say unemployment has impacted the families of students in their districts
  • 87% say the economy affects the schools' capacity to maintain focus on student learning (similarly, most indicate the same inability to focus on instructional improvements, learning needs of all students, and meeting performance assessments)

There is no doubt that education is vital to a healthy economy, so a struggling education system could, according to AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech, "multiply the negative impact and prolong the economic downturn."

Although the survey did not ask about IT budgets in any way, I would imagine that IT has been as impacted by tighter budgets in the education sector. It will put extra pressure on IT departments to find solutions that help automate tasks and increase efficiencies. Also, given that data breaches in the education market account for a significant portion of all breaches in 2008, reductions in security spending could increase the risk of data breach (which is a costly issue). Download the study here. [PDF]

Another extremely interesting article on the topic of education looks to Obama's campaign and what lessons the education sector can learn from his embrace of technology during his campaign. Obama's campaign made effective use of social media - Facebook, Twitter, blogging - to get in touch with young voters. A strategy that had more young voters out to the polls than any time in the last 34 years, and which teachers can take inspiration from in terms of getting their students involved. Continue reading about this here.

Learn more about Absolute Software's initiatives in Education here.

Via eschoolnews

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