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Technology Budget

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Hills West’s current budgeting frameworks and the realities of financing popular projects, such as new heating or air conditioning systems, can inhibit the deployment of technology in schools. The usual method of financing school projects is through local government bonds, but this is not the case for many school districts.  The spending cuts have caused school districts to lay off teachers and other employees, reduce pay for the educational workers who remain, and cancel contracts with suppliers and other businesses. These steps remove consumer demand from the economy, which in return discourages businesses from making new investments and hiring. Mr. Thidemann, 12th grade Economics teacher stated, “I believe technology is important, but it can’t be at the expense of traditional education. We can’t lose teachers, resources, and programs (arts, music) just to fund new technology.” There is a real danger that staff development and training costs, a significant part of the initial investment and a large component of ongoing costs, will not be funded adequately simply because the framework provides no easy way to cover these expenditures. For a district, one of the worst possible outcomes would be to have technology deployed in all of its schools only to find that it is not used to its full potential.  Grace Walker, 11th grade technology enthusiast expressed her opinion about technology in Hills West. She states, “I feel that the technology is very advanced in our school. We don’t need new computers or Mac laptops (like the new carts) because our laptops and computers are already up to date.” She also believes that states should be funding for new technology in schools but only to the schools that are in need of it like in lower socioeconomic areas.  There is a distinct possibility this situation will prevail if the schools’ existing funding mechanism facilitates the deployment of physical capital while constraining the formation of the human capital needed to exploit technology’s potential contribution to education. To prevent these problems, school districts will require strong support and assistance from federal and state governments and will need to reform existing school management and budgeting practices.  Dr. Michael Catapano, second year principal at High School West thinks that states should keep funding schools’ technology because “It not only benefits educators but students as well. The more advanced technology we use, provides our students techniques and different ways to learn, and lets teachers change up the learning style in the classroom making it more interactive. When virtual manipulatives are used in a classroom the effects that the students obtain is extremely beneficial, especially in the workforce.” Money should be given to schools to fund technology because if it is used efficiently, students will become more technologically advanced and more competitive with other students domestically and in different countries. The problem is that the money given to schools is being wasted on other things such as new desks and smart boards that may not be necessary. The United States spends so much money per student a year, yet is not competitive with other countries; students learning math in high school may have already learned the same math in another country at a lower grade level. We throw money at issues rather than fixing it.