Testimony by Beth Lowd & Isa Zimmerman, on behalf of B.E.S.T.,
April 15, 2003 , faxed to the Joint Committee on Education and the Arts
Position of Business and Education for Schools and Technology on the Reauthorization of Chapter 70 and the inclusion of a technology line item in the Foundation Budget (H.3314)
The world has changed since 1993, and schools have become as dependent on technology as the world has. They use it for more efficient administration, easier communications, access to up-to-date information, revision of teaching materials to fit the current class needs, and for facilitating the development of 21st century skills in students.
The foundation budget created between 1991-93 has no line item to acknowledge what schools spend on technology. Yet the average district technology expenditures per student for the past three years were $276 (00), $263 (01), and $296 (02) as reported by the Department of Education. In 01, 55% of districts spent more than $200 per student, and only 7% spent less than $100.
A quote from the 02 Educational Technology report from DOE says, Before a district can carry out its technology plan, it needs to have a commitment to fund it. The technology budget needs to include not only monies for hardware and software purchases, but also for the costs of hardware and software upgrades, maintenance, support, and professional development. In 2002 the statewide spending on technology was up more than 12%, with a per student average of $296. These expenditures included monies from the districts operational budget, municipal bonds, and grants from federal, state, local, and private sources.
On average, schools spent less than 4% of their total budgets on technology. yet the commitment to maintaining up-to-date, working technology and to keeping educators' skills up-to-date is very important in our high tech state. Therefore, there needs to be a commitment to spending sufficiently.
An argument can be made that some of these expenditures are covered by other items in the Foundation Budget formula, particularly some salaries. Yet real costs remain and should be included. Thus we support the legislation and recommend that the technology line in Chapter 70 formula be set at about $200 per student.
Beth Lowd and Isa Zimmerman
Coordinators of B.E.S.T, a coalition of business, education, and labor organizations
Blowd@mindspring.com 617-332-1978 38 Hobart Road, Newton, MA 02459
firstname.lastname@example.org 617-349-8642 Lesley, Univ., 29 Everett St., Cambridge MA 02138
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