U.S. Public School Districts Prepare for Lower Technology Spending Tomorrow by Buying Smarter Today, Says IDC
FRAMINGHAM, MA – MAY 7, 2003 – The next generation of advanced technology is receiving a warm reception in U.S. K-12 classrooms, but the pace of adoption is about to hit a speed bump. According to new research from IDC, the downturn in state and local tax revenues is having a major impact on school technology purchasing. Although notebook PCs, wireless Internet access and smart handheld devices (PDAs) are being used in a growing number of schools, the coming budget squeeze already has administrators shifting their spending plans.
"Spending changes are coming in two areas – stuff and staff," noted IDC Research Vice President Raymond Boggs. "Equipment purchases are being delayed or refined and IT support professionals are either not being added as planned or not being replaced if they leave. Spending on services is less vulnerable, while capital equipment investment is under the most scrutiny."
Many current school budgets were based on overly optimistic tax revenue assumptions, which means that spending levels are likely to be reduced in the next budget cycle, if they haven't been reduced already. In preparation, school districts are shifting investment priorities so that the funds available near term will deliver the maximum long-term benefit. IDC expects network and infrastructure hardware to benefit as districts strengthen and upgrade core capabilities.
Effect of Changing Economy and Lower State/Local Tax Revenue on U.S. K-12 School District Spending (% of Districts)
Service and equipment spending both delayed 45.6%
Additional IT staff not being hired 37.1%
Minimal impact; no significant change in budgeting/spending 27.5%
Equipment spending delayed, but not services spending 18.1%
IT staff reduced/not replaced 13.1%
Services spending delayed, but not equipment spending 2.9%
Don't know/no answer 5.0%
Source: IDC 2002-2003 K-12 District Survey
Despite anticipated spending declines, K-12 districts are still moving forward with innovative technology plans. The availability of high-speed Internet acces in the classroom continues to improve. Also plans to implement one-to-one student laptop computer programs are moving ahead, especially in larger districts.
IDC's new report, U.S. K-12 Technology Profile 2003: Changing Investment in Personal Computer, Network and Online Resources (IDC #28883), discusses Information Technology spending across U.S. public school districts including computer hardware, application software, wireless networking equipment, and digital and Internet-based curriculum and distance learning.
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