K12 IT leadership survey shows more districts increasing budgets

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released the findings from its 2nd Annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey, which reveal that one in three districts report budget increases for this year. This marks an upward swing, when in 2013, nearly 80 percent of school district IT leaders predicted flat or declining budgets. Despite the reported growing budgets, however, nearly one-half of the survey’s 350 respondents from 45 states indicated that their districts still do not have adequate funding to support existing equipment to meet board expectations or implement new classroom technologies.

Conducted in partnership with MDR and sponsored by SchoolDude, CoSN’s survey measures how school system technology leaders are leveraging technology to achieve engaging learning environments, how this changes over time, and how the choices made today will shape the future landscape.

“While the feedback from district leaders offers optimism, it’s overwhelmingly apparent: Districts still lack the necessary resources to provide transformative learning environments,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “Moving forward, the survey should inform the decisions school system leaders, as well as policy makers, make in establishing learning environments powered through technology.”

The IT Leadership Survey specifically tracks information on IT priorities, budgets, staffing, district technology leader / chief information officer (CIO) / chief technology officer (CTO) characteristics and K-12 IT leadership in a district and school system. Key findings are included below.

Priorities

- Less than 18 percent report their district is fully ready for the 2014 online assessments starting this fall.

- 81 percent of districts support or are interested in BYOD, with 51 percent reporting some type of BYOD program in the district.

- 83 percent of districts predict that digital materials will account for more than 50 percent of the educational resources in their district over the next three years.

Budgets

- 34 percent of the respondents report budget increases for this year.

- 47 percent of the respondents report budgets are not adequate to support existing equipment to meet board expectations or implement new classroom technologies.

- 68 percent plan to delay replacements or defer maintenance upgrades and contracts – a decision that can be costly and inefficient to students and staff.

Staffing

- More than 27 percent reported that their staff increased this year; 72 percent reported that staffing has remained the same or decreased despite rising IT assets.

- 59 percent report their staff does not have time to implement new classroom technology. CTO Characteristics

- One in five CTOs plan to retire in the next five years; one in two will retire in the next 10 years.

- 67 percent of district technology leaders / CIOs / CTOs have earned a Master’s degree or higher; 57 percent have been in their positions for more than six years; 27 percent for more than 20 years.

K-12 IT Leadership

- 63 percent of districts use and recognize the title of chief information officer / chief technology officer – up from 43 percent in 2013.

- 68 percent of the respondents indicated they are in charge of both information and educational technology.

- Nearly one-half of the group responding indicated there is technology leadership represented on the District Leadership Cabinet.

“For another year, the findings confirm that our technology leaders do not have enough budget or staff to integrate technology into classroom instruction or implement new technologies – factors which have been identified as critical for student success,” said Nick Mirisis, Director of Marketing & Business Development for SchoolDude. “With the technology landscape changing rapidly, our belief is that surveying these key technology decision makers will help provide districts with data to make more informed decisions for the future.”

“Partnering with COSN on this survey is an ideal extension of MDR’s mission to provide timely and research-driven market intelligence to transform U.S. public education,” said Kathleen Brantley, MDR’s Director of EdNET Insight. “This information reminds us of the vast challenges and priorities that IT leaders face each year to deliver the best possible technology solutions on behalf of K-12 schools.”

For more, please visit: www.cosn.org/ITsurvey2014.

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or call 866-267-8747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam.