Can Technology Soften the Blow of Budget Cuts?

Paisley-r120x148I do not know of a school that is not facing budget cuts. The federal stimulus money is running out, and the governor of New York, like many governors, is cutting state aid to schools by nearly 10 percent. Technology has traditionally been seen as something that enhances instruction. But can it also reduce the cost of instruction? In 1999, the town of Red Hook, N.Y., installed a million-dollar, then state-of-the-art, fiber-optic media delivery system. Today it is an expensive dinosaur that is being replaced by streaming video and low-cost hardware.

This year’s ASCD Annual Conference may very well provide some answers to the question of whether technology, something that has traditionally been an “added expense,” has become something that can actually save schools money. The areas that hold the greatest promise are the use of technology for credit recovery for students short on graduation requirements and remediation through online instruction. Another exciting development is the widespread availability of e-readers like the Nook and Kindle. With the cost of some traditional textbooks exceeding $100, digital textbooks may provide not only additional enhancements but also significant savings.

How is your district using technology to save money? Can technology reduce costs in some areas and enable us to save jobs where they are needed most?

Post submitted by Roy Paisley, principal of Red Hook High School in Red Hook, N.Y., and 2011 ASCD Annual Conference Scholar.