Management: Finance

How much was spent in the past academic year for instructional and administrative equipment purchases?

Probably the most important aspect of tracking equipment costs is the replacement cycle that the indicators below cover. (Coding would most likely not differentiate between replacing obsolete equipment and purchasing new equipment.) It may be helpful for technology planners and finance professionals to keep in mind that the generally accepted life cycle of equipment is about five years in education versus two to three years in business, though different schools and programs may have shorter cycles (for instance, laptops will have shorter replacement cycles than desktop machines). Also, a replacement cycle may not apply to some indicators that this key question includes, such as leasing equipment and server space.

How much was spent for instructional and administrative applications and software?

Indicators include software purchases, leases, and service subscriptions, including online content services. Software upgrades are most likely not distinguishable from new software purchases. The school's approach to software purchases, as well as the professional development and knowledge level of instructional staff, are likely to markedly affect these costs.

More detail on software purchasing patterns (for instance, separating expenditures for system-wide licenses from those for individual class or school subscriptions, and from expenditures for one-time purchases) and separation of general instructional technology costs from administrative or instructional software and systems expenditures might be clearly desirable. Separating out expenditures for classes of administrative software (by major business function) or instructional applications (by grade level or curriculum area) might also be desirable. However, it is unlikely that such information will be obtainable from currently available financial categories.

How much was spent for connectivity and infrastructure?

This indicator covers line charges, subscriptions for system software, and contracts with Internet service providers (ISPs). However, some connectivity and infrastructure costs can relate to specific technology facilities' requirements, such as HVAC, security and electrical capacity expansion, and even lead and asbestos abatement. See Chapter 1, Technology Planning and Policies, for an explanation of planning for these costs.

It is particularly important for this key question to separate capital investment costs-that is, non-recurring expenditures such as wiring or rewiring, the purchase and installation of wireless components and communications servers-from annual, recurring expenditures such as Internet access provision.