SOESD / Learning Matters / Newsletter Archive / April 2009 / Cost Savings and Efficiencies from Your ESD
Cost Savings and Efficiencies from Your ESD
by Ron Enger, Director,
Technology and Media Services
Technology and Media Services at Southern Oregon ESD is committed to providing various services to schools that enhance instruction and learning for students.
As a regional service center SOESD strives to identify services that provide efficiencies and cost savings to schools throughout our thirteen school district region.
For years the Technology & Media Services departments have supported programs like cooperative purchasing of resources and supplies so schools can take advantage of the significant savings that are involved. Examples of this are the many and varied technology products and parts that are purchased at significant cost reduction by the ESD’s Electronic Services program. Purchases are passed on directly to schools at savings amounting to as much as 60% off list prices. Over the course of a year these savings could amount to several hundred thousand dollars for schools. When schools ask for Electronic Services for help in installing security camera systems or computer networks, the service in labor is always at no cost to the school.
Another significant savings to schools is often achieved when the ESD is able to develop a consortium for products or services involving several school districts. A recent example of this occurred when the ESD organized a consortium of schools that wished to purchase and deploy a new Follett Library Management system. This was a region-wide effort that involved most of the districts and provided a savings of more than $200,000. In addition, Technology & Media Services agreed to host this service for schools and support the technical aspects of the project for all of the schools involved. This will be an ongoing consortium that will result in significantly lower costs for schools on an annual basis in dollar savings and support.
Technology & Media Services Media Library initiated a group purchase of the World Book Encyclopedia’s online database for all 110 schools in SOESD’s service area. Previously the Medford and Grants Pass School Districts had purchased this service for some of their schools but the cost of providing this for all of their schools was prohibitive. As a result of the ESD providing this service as a region-wide group purchase, the World Book Encyclopedia is available free to every K-12 school in southern Oregon. Additionally, students and parents can now access this resource at home as well.
Our Computer Information Services department recently created a helpdesk program with input from several school districts for the purpose of assisting technology managers in supporting computer users. This provides a way for school computer users to receive help and for technicians to manage and track support. Similar commercial products for helpdesk support could initially cost each district from $12,000-$25,000 the first year, plus annual maintenance fees up to $6,000 per district. This free ESD service is a significant savings in time and money for those districts who are now participating in the helpdesk project.
An additional significant savings by SOESD involves Network Services providing internet access to all schools in the service region. By aggregating all school district connections to the internet this service enables a very efficient use of resources. The ESD pays for and manages circuits and internet support totaling more than $100,000 per year which saves schools considerable dollars. Network Services maximizes efficient use of the network so schools have adequate bandwidth for student electronic testing and other online resources used in daily instruction.
Technology & Media Services provides region-wide distance education programs to all districts. This IVC service enables schools to connect regionally, state-wide, or nationally with other sites to share workshops, meetings, K-12 classes or virtual field trips. The ESD operates a bridging capability for these connections that include scheduling events and technical troubleshooting. By offering this service region-wide there is a great savings to schools that they could not economically provide themselves. In addition, there is a savings in travel for teachers in attending workshops or meetings regionally or state-wide.
These are just a few of the examples of how Technology & Media Services at Southern Oregon ESD provides support to schools. Technology & Media Services is continually looking for services that are valuable to schools and through a regional support model provide significant savings and efficiencies.