Return on Investment: Making the financial case for educational technology

By CSBA Business Affiliate PowerSchool

In today’s rapidly changing K-12 landscape, careful decisions about technology investments are increasingly important. While the primary goals of school districts and county offices of education will always be student growth and well-being, these outcomes are seeded by responsible spending. As local educational agency staff champion a new digital solution, justifying the use of limited funds requires a clear understanding of the savings that these investments can bring.

One of the primary ways that educational technology investments contribute to financial return on investment (ROI) is through efficiency gains. Public school districts typically spend 80 to 90 percent of their state and local funds on staffing needs, and for hardworking educators and administrative personnel, there never seems to be enough time. Modern systems, including those enhanced with artificial intelligence, automate tasks such as hiring, student registration, communications, grading, scheduling, tracking attendance, lesson planning and differentiating instruction, reducing demands on staff. This not only minimizes the need for additional personnel but allows staff to focus on the important work of improving student outcomes.

Consolidating tools and systems into unified platforms simplifies management and reduces costs associated with licensing fees, maintenance contracts and IT support. By streamlining operations and improving data accuracy and accessibility, districts can avoid the inefficiencies and errors that often result from managing multiple disparate systems.

Investing in modernized systems that provide improved data security is another crucial aspect of maximizing financial ROI. Data breaches and compliance violations can result in significant financial losses, including legal fees, reputational damage and potential loss of funding. By proactively addressing security vulnerabilities, LEAs can mitigate these risks and protect their financial interests.

Furthermore, modernized digital systems often have lower lifecycle costs compared to outdated technologies. By investing in scalable and sustainable architectures, districts can minimize ongoing maintenance and support costs while achieving greater longevity from their technology investments. Cloud-based solutions in particular eliminate the need for costly hardware infrastructure and ongoing maintenance, further reducing total cost of ownership.

Finally, leveraging data analytics capabilities provided by educational technology enables LEAs to optimize resource allocation and prioritize investments that deliver the greatest returns for their students, families and staff. By analyzing usage patterns and identifying areas for improvement, districts can make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring that funds are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The case for educational technology investments is multifaceted. By embracing modernized digital systems that enhance efficiency, consolidate tools, ensure data security, reduce lifecycle costs and optimize resource allocation, districts can achieve significant cost savings while empowering educators and improving student outcomes. As you champion new and continued investments in educational technology in your LEA, work with colleagues to quantify not only the potential for greater student outcomes and operational excellence, but also the opportunity for savings — your partners at PowerSchool are here to help.

CSBA Business Affiliate PowerSchool is the leading cloud-based software provider in North America based in Folsom, California and expanding internationally. PowerSchool helps LEAs efficiently manage instruction, learning, grading, attendance, assessment, analytics, state reporting, special education, student registration, talent, finance and human resources.