With ESSER funds ending, staff shortages and enrollment declines, districts are eager for technology upgrades but concerned about their ability to invest in resources for the long-term
WILMINGTON, N.C., April 25, 2023
The findings of a new national survey of K-12 education professionals and district staff reveals that many schools aren’t positioned to successfully navigate the major shifts in enrollment, staffing, funding, compliance and other challenges that began prior to the recent pandemic. The research, conducted by EDGE research and K-12 solutions provider LINQ, found that district superintendents, business managers, IT and HR directors and other key personnel, struggle to determine how to prioritize operational challenges when faced with staff retention issues and hiring challenges, declining funds and lack of new technologies to operate more efficiently.
Key findings from the survey include:
- 47 percent of district respondents report staffing shortages have affected their ability to adopt and integrate the technology needed to perform efficiently and effectively
- 35 percent of respondents believe that when ESSER funds run out, they will not have the funding available to support technology investments
- One-third (33 percent) of respondents said that not keeping up with technology is holding their district back
- 33 percent of respondents also agreed that their districts do not have the budget to support the technology needs of their district-wide operations
Education Resource Planning (ERP) is a main function of the district office, which examines and determines the allocation of resources across finance, human resources, technology, and facilities, among other aspects of business operations. ERP supports managing issues such as federal and state grant compliance, cybersecurity and data privacy, vendor and materials procurement, recruitment and hiring, and payment and fee collection.
When asked about their perceived weaknesses and strengths, districts noted they are less confident in their ability to:
- Manage meal debt
- Manage supply chain issues
- Implement data analytics and business intelligence
- Improve accuracy and efficiency through automation
- Offer a digital payment solution for families
- Be carbon neutral
These perceived weaknesses sit in contrast to what districts reported as top priorities:
- Hiring and retaining staff (68 percent)
- Compliance for state and federal requirements (61 percent)
- Data and cybersecurity protection (56 percent)
- Budget and forecast planning (52 percent)
According to the report’s findings, 8 in 10 respondents consider technology when evaluating employment opportunities. Staying up to date with technology is crucial to ensure easy access to information, programs, and processes as well as attract new K-12 business professionals who have higher expectations around the adoption and use of technology.
“Staff shortages, a decline in enrollment and funding and cybersecurity threats, among others, are some of the many challenges overwhelming our school districts. However, K-12 professionals recognize the crucial role emerging technologies play in addressing these challenges and the need to adopt technologies that strengthen districts’ business capabilities and build resiliency,” said Brandy Keller, senior vice president of Product at LINQ. “Through automation and tech integration, school districts can pave the way for short-term and long-term success and ensure they are prepared to face challenging times while minimizing disruption in their business operations while maximizing every dollar”
To download the full report, visit www.linq.com.