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K-12 School Districts Drive Innovation with New Technologies

When moving to a new state, city, or neighborhood, one of the most important decision-making criterion for families is the quality of the local schools. Along with sound curriculum and high test scores, parents are also looking for modern facilities and 21st-century learning environments. Today, those advancements are often based on a foundation of technology. And technology impacts nearly every facet of how a school district operates — from state-of-the-art classrooms and athletic environments to highly efficient and sustainable campuses. These are the kinds of innovative solutions that build a district’s brand and help it prepare for growth.

Unfortunately, school districts across the country are struggling with how to prioritize the limited funds they receive.

Often, facility modernization gets pushed to the wayside as school districts prioritize “must haves” over “nice to haves”, resulting in a backlog of deferred maintenance. Administrators are left having to settle for short-term, band-aid fixes year after year, making buildings more expensive to operate, and less appealing to students and parents.

What school districts might not know is that innovative technology solutions can be a triple win: enhancing the learning environment, improving facility operations and recovering budget dollars to reinvest in other programs.

Instead of a constant tug-of-war, imagine a scenario where schools could save money and make material improvements to facilities by streamlining energy and operational expenditures. Technology advancements such as lighting, heating and cooling, and building and IT automation can often pay for themselves through savings, as well as be leveraged to unlock additional revenue to fund district priorities, including security and telecomm upgrades, or even more teachers in classrooms.

Watch these videos to see how two school districts are using technology to innovate their districts and build their brands as educational leaders.

Thomasville City Schools set a goal of implementing an energy efficiency initiative to inspire students and to provide best-in-class education, athletics and arts experiences. The district-wide modernization program touches nearly every aspect of the student experience: classrooms are brighter, gymnasiums are cooler, restrooms are more efficient and outdoor spaces are safer.

It will also save the school district money, lots of it. In fact, these innovative solutions will trim more than $160,000 in annual energy expenses from the budget, totaling $4 million in savings over the life of the project.

Delran Township Schools is an award-winning district driven by a desire to reduce its environmental impact and improve its building operations. By implementing a district-wide sustainability plan using cutting-edge technology, Delran reduced energy costs by 32 percent. The district also now produces 80 percent of its electricity through onsite solar arrays.

These improvements will save taxpayers $5.6 million over the next fifteen years. In addition, this project educates students about conservation through hands-on learning and a digital kiosk that explains energy use across the district.