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Articles: Purchasing

The alarming rate of school shootings in recent years has led to the creation of emergency notification systems that can send various types of messages to multiple devices, giving administrators more control.

A1,100-student school district in Minnesota had been purchasing food supplies through a buying group of five other school systems—but it wasn’t efficient. “We would have to meet quite often,” says Director of Food Service Sandie Rentz of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools. “We wrote our own bids and market basket. Then we would go out for bidding and tabulate the results ourselves.”

The reach of K12 bulk purchasing and co-op agreements has expanded substantially as more districts join to save substantial amounts on everything from software to playground equipment, according to a recent AASA report.

Where should schools start when it comes to implementing technology?

GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN’—A typical class at  Tahoma High involves students working on separate machines, including a tire balancer. Instructor Luke Thompson also provides writing assignments. Documenting work, he says, is an industry standard for tasks such as repair orders.

Schools have started fine-tuning their automotive tech programs to make them ideal vehicles for STEM instruction.

Districts must start crunching the numbers based on their state regulations to meet the ESSA mandate. (Gettyimages.com: alex_doubovitsky).

In light of a looming ESSA mandate to increase transparency around education spending, district leaders have been struggling to calculate per-pupil spending by school in accordance with state and federal requirements.

LEANER & GREENER—An MIT supercomputer remapped bus routes for Boston Public Schools (above). The district trimmed its fleet by 50 vehicles, saved about $4 million and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The techniques for streamlining bus transportation range from a variety of off-the shelf routing programs to relying more on an administrator’s experience with local conditions.

PROOF OF PURCHASE—Educators at Dysart USD must justify the learning value of all technology purchases, such as the laptop (above) being used by a student at Sonoran Heights Elementary School.

Administrators now strive to align strong technology plans with district strategic goals.

Source: Compiled by USCCR from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data “National Public Education Financial Survey” fiscal year 2014, and NCES, “Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education School Year 2013-14” p.5 Table 1. The graph is derived from one published by USCCR p.28, http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2018-01-10-Education-Inequity.pdf.

The federal government must take “bold action” to make education funding more equitable, says a recent report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 

Schools and districts in nearly 30 states—including Lyon County School District (Nevada)—use the Edthena platform to video coach educators. Lyon County began video coaching its 200 elementary school teachers in the 2017-18 school year. The PD was made possible by a grant from the Nevada Department of Education.

MAGIC SCHOOL BUS—The 71-passenger all-electric school bus has a range of 100 miles per charge and zero emissions.

Districts in Minnesota and California are participating in pilot programs that provide all-electric, zero-emissions buses that should cost much less to power and maintain.

Wealthy schools can raise eye-popping amounts from fundraising that add to the opportunities for well-off students, while the neediest schools struggle to keep up.

Nearly 4,000 K12 schools have been fitted with solar installations as of 2014, according to the “Brighter Futures” report for the U.S. Department of Energy, based on data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

SEAT BELTS MAKE THEM SIT—New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina is adding seat belts to some buses as part of a state study. Ken Nance, transportation director, says just having students staying put in their seats reduces distractions to bus drivers, two of whom are pictured above.

More districts are adding seat belts to their bus fleets, following the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s 2015 recommendation that “every child on every school bus” needs a seat belt. 

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