Avoid the common mistakes we often see with bond funding. Don’t simply replace a bunch of technology for the sake of replacing it, don’t just buy a list of “stuff,” and don’t sit on funds that could be benefitting your organization now. Here are three tips for maximizing your bond funds.1. Stick to the Plan
This is a little bit backwards, in that it needs to happen before the bond measure passes, but it’s imperative to have a plan going in to your bond measure. Your plan should begin with a clear understanding of the overall organizational objectives. Any technology investment you make (with funding of any type, from any source) should take those objectives into account so that IT can ultimately contribute to those objectives. Once the funding begins to roll in, it’s incredibly important that you stick to the plan. Don’t get too excited about upgrading current systems just for the sake of upgrades. Any purchases you make should be a part of the plan and should contribute to the objectives that you already noted.2. Keep the Bond Language in Mind
This is another item that requires some consideration as the bond is being written. Bond language often includes mention of “hot” technologies that may or may not be useful or sustainable in the classroom. These technologies are used to “sell” the bond, but often don’t actually fit into the larger picture or plan when it comes time to implement. Because bonds are sometimes written years before the funds are available, it’s better to be ambiguous with your language to ensure that you can interpret it to best achieve your organizational goals when the funds become available. Choose umbrella terms that categorize—but don’t name specific technologies. For example, use the term “infrastructure” which encompasses many technologies, so you and your team can decide on what infrastructure technologies will best contribute to your organizational objectives when the time comes.3. Remember Who Your Customers Are
Bond funding gets complicated pretty quickly. Between politics, district leadership, and the voting public, it’s easy to forget who the actual customers are. Here’s a hint: they’re three feet tall and carry books. Everything that your team, the district, and the political affiliates do needs to serve the students, at the end of the day. All of this effort is ultimately designed to achieve the goal of student success. But if you write a bond initiative for a digital curriculum that is only adopted by 20% of instructors, it’s likely not going to help many students prepare for the next step in their education. Keep these things in mind as you move forward. Be sure that your plan, your bond language, and your execution with bond funds actually contribute to the things that matter.
Need help getting started with distributing your bond funds in a way that actually contributes to your organization’s outcomes and goals? Let us assist you. The experts at DGI have years of experience guiding K-14 IT departments towards understanding and contributing to the success of the students they serve.