At DGI, our K-12 Business Advisor is a former CTO who has seen many bond seasons come and go. Throughout his years as a district leader, he discovered some common mistakes that occurred repeatedly and interrupted the end goal of every IT bond issue: student success.
Here are 3 Common Mistakes IT Departments Make With Their Bond Funds1. You Don’t Know What Your District Priorities Are
Obviously the district wants successful students. But how do they expect to achieve that success? Is it through more digital curricula? Is it through increased parent engagement? Is it with a more complete campus safety strategy? These goals require vastly different approaches (don’t worry, we’ll get there) and different technology implementation, so it’s very important to understand exactly what key stakeholders want to accomplish with the funds.
2. You Don’t Have a Strategy
Once you understand exactly what your district wants to accomplish, the next step is to create a roadmap to decide exactly how your technology is going to get you that outcome. One of the common mistakes we see is IT departments buying a list of “stuff” with their bond funds, unsure of how that list is going to materialize actual district outcomes. At the end of the day, the most important thing is for your team to sit down with those key stakeholders and create a strategy with a clear review of the objectives you are trying to accomplish. You can then determine which technologies will actually deliver those outcomes. Before a project begins, it’s imperative that everyone is on the same page. This will help to ensure you don’t wind up with a pile of disparate technology that doesn’t actually contribute to district objectives.
3. You Don’t Have a Sustainability Plan
One of the words missing from many (if not all) bond disbursement plans is sustainability. Whether it’s one, five, or ten years, eventually those bond funds are going to run out. If you purchase technology that needs maintenance or upgrades (AKA basically every type of technology) with those funds, but don’t put a plan in place to sustain that technology after it’s been purchased, you will ultimately wind up with a pile of broken or half-functioning technology that is definitely NOT contributing to any organizational objectives. It’s vital to understand exactly how you are going to fund maintenance, upgrades, tests, and repairs after your bond funds run out. This will ensure that your investment continues to generate returns for years to come.
We know, this is a lot. But we’re here to help. Our experience and focus on leveraging technology to achieve business outcomes means we can help you avoid these pitfalls and discover more secrets to student success through tech. Whether your bond was successful or not, we can help you move forward with getting your IT out of the basement and into the boardroom. Schedule an appointment with one of our IT relevancy specialists here.