Competing priorities, budget cuts, and a myriad of other issues can cause tension when school boards are budgeting for resources and needs. It is imperative that the school board maintain a budget that supports financial health and sustainability for the district.

District budgets provide an overview of how the board will spend the district’s money. The school board’s budgeting strategies need to best align resources with district goals. School board technology, through a variety of features, can support a more efficient and effective board.

Why should school boards account for school board technology?

Board management software is an invaluable tool in supporting successful school boards. A board portal can provide a secure platform for school board members to share, access, and maintain sensitive documents about the budget, policies, goals, and other district issues.

School boards are trusted representatives and leaders, providing governance and direction to achieve district goals. With great responsibilities, boards need to utilize technological tools to perform their best work.

Utilizing the right technology, the work performed by the board can be seamless and easily accessible from anywhere. School boards have the opportunity to leverage technological tools in order to not miss any opportunities for effective and strategic decision making. Information and materials can be easily shared and accessed seamlessly through a board management platform, meaning board members continuously are “in the know” and can perform their best work for the district and community.

School board technology can equip board members to be more organized, efficient, and effective. Leveraging the right board management software, school boards are better equipped to carry out the mission and vision of the district.

Board management software is an investment that supports modern governance and board efficiency. Employing budgeting strategies that account for and prioritize a board portal is not a wasteful use of district funds; this is leveraging a tool that supports the work of the school board toward greater student achievement.

Budgeting strategies to account for school board technology

For school boards who face tight or reduced budgets or have tension between priorities in spending, budgeting strategies can be helpful in identifying and implementing ways to incorporate board management software into your board’s budget.

  1. What are you paying for?

School boards need to begin with researching the needs of the board and available software options. When making this technological and financial investment the board must clarify what is needed and what criteria the software must meet (security standards, customer service, board portal training, etc.).

It is easy for school boards to look toward the cheapest options, as it is often engrained in public education’s culture to be frugal bargain hunters. Public education boards face limited budgets and conflicting priorities that can drive them to free or low-cost software options. However, the dangers of these options are that they may be compromised systems or without any updates, customer service, or streamlined accessibility.

These options actually come at a greater cost for school boards and their districts. Risks associated with board management software that may be compromised or easily hacked can cost districts far more than the subscription fee to a reputable, secure service provider.

Software that lacks in updates or customer service can leave boards frustrated with programs that become obsolete or incompatible with computers or tablets. Without access to service representatives that can assist or train board members in how to properly utilize the program, school boards find themselves with access to board management software that they cannot utilize.

School board management software that must be downloaded onto a hard drive can leave board members without streamlined access to pertinent information. Boards may then resort to e-mail in order to share and access information, potentially placing the board in violation of state sunshine laws.

An updating and secure board portal that boasts 24/7 service and support can save a school board money in the long term. Board management software that features high-level encryption (256-bit encryption is the strongest level of security currently available) allows board members to confidently share, access, and manage pertinent information.

  1. Get the most for your money

With the right technology, school boards will find that board portals can support many district needs. Boards can leverage board management software to simplify supporting civic engagement, being more inclusive to community members, and complying with local sunshine laws.

The right board portals allow for school board members and administrators to have seamless access from any device, anywhere to policies, meeting agendas and minutes, budgets, district goals, strategic plans, assessment materials, and other pertinent board information. Board management software is not only for board members. Security settings can be established to allow public access to some district information, while allowing administrators and board members to be the only individuals to have access to other materials.

  1. School board technology as a predictable expense

Low cost software can lead to greater costs to the district in the long run. These software options can be susceptible to sensitive data exposure or loss and other cybersecurity risks. Unpredictable costs can come from the added expenses for constant software upgrades, replacing outdated software, or paying fines for failing to meet sunshine laws and ADA requirements.

Boards can mitigate these risks by utilizing a reputable board management software that is secure and dependable. The subscription fees for a reliable board portal allows for school boards to be fully aware of the cost for this service for future budget strategies, while giving some peace of mind that certain financial risks are mitigated through this technology.

Conclusion

Sometimes the cost that comes with utilizing a reliable, secure board portal can be steep, but the cost associated with the risks of leveraging vulnerable, low cost options is also high and irreversible.

The investment in software that effectively and efficiently supports the work of the school board pays for itself. Community by Diligent can support boards in mitigating risk when it comes to sensitive data; Community stores information on a private secure server and on sites with high-level encryption (256-bit encryption is the strongest level of security currently available).

School boards have the opportunity to utilize technological tools in order to not miss any opportunities for effective and strategic decision making. Leveraging Community, information and materials can be easily shared and accessed seamlessly through a secure board portal.

Community maintains pertinent board materials (such as: policies, agendas, minutes, legislation, and other important documents) and makes this information easily accessible to school board members and the public (various security levels are available to protect sensitive information). Not only are public constituents able to access this information (to encourage board compliance with sunshine laws), but it can be made searchable by keyword.

School boards can implement budgeting strategies that promote utilizing board technology that promotes strong governance practices. Community’s features support school boards in compliance with local laws and policies, efficient modern governance practices, and securing sensitive data. School boards cannot afford to turn to less reliable, reputable, and secure alternatives.