How CTS Manages Technology Costs for Schools

Schools have dozens of competing instructional and non-instructional priorities, all of which have significant monetary and non-monetary costs.

Ask any school administrator, and they can quickly rattle off dozens of costs associated with both instructional and non-instructional priorities in their school building. From new science curriculum sets to additional SMART boards, online instructional platforms, and office furniture, schools’ expenses can quickly run into the millions of dollars per year. As a result, schools need to be strategic about their spending choices, stretching each dollar as far as it can possibly go while also ensuring they don’t lose sight of their unique mission.

Technology spending is no exception and, in fact, often constitutes a significant percentage of a school’s annual expenditures. Beyond purchasing student and staff devices and educational software, schools must also pay for someone, or even an entire team of people, to manage the school’s technology. As a result, schools often choose to outsource their technology management to an external provider, one with the experience to navigate an increasingly complex educational technology field. 

At CTS, we specialize in understanding schools’ unique missions while also providing transparent, realistic service plans adapted for schools of all sizes. Whether you’re a first-year school with an enrollment of less than 100 students or a K-12 site with hundreds of staff members, CTS has a service package that meets your school’s technology needs so that you and your team can focus on educating students. 

CTS offers transparent service packages to help schools manage their IT costs.

One key to managing school technology costs is predicting the extent to which such costs may change from month to month. Under a variable plan, for example, a school administrator may expect to spend more on technology-related items during the first few months of school when purchasing new devices, renewing software subscriptions, or replacing old routers and switches. A variable plan’s more expensive months are typically offset, at least to some extent, by those in the middle of the school year, where new purchases are relatively few and—barring an unforeseen event—costs are relatively flat. 

What happens, though, when a router suddenly goes out, teachers need extensive technical assistance navigating a new platform, or students transition, as they did last spring, into long-term remote learning? Under these circumstances, a variable plan can lead to sudden financial “shocks,” forcing the school to spend money it didn’t anticipate having to spend and thus compromising other instructional priorities that require commitments of financial resources. 

CTS seeks to solve this problem, offering schools a number of flat-rate plans that clearly lay out a scope of services the school can expect to receive, coupled with a predictable rate the school can expect to pay, month to month. A flat-rate plan not only supports long-term planning efforts but also allows the school to rest easy, knowing its technology costs are unlikely to change dramatically over the course of a few weeks. 

The CTS Essentials Package makes sense for schools that have day-to-day tech. support covered.

Schools that have an internal IT team skilled at resolving daily troubleshooting tickets can still benefit from CTS’s Essentials Package, which includes long-term strategic support, as well as foundational technical services that ensure the integrity of the school’s IT infrastructure.

Under the Essentials Package, CTS will maintain the school’s data and phone systems, ensuring data is backed-up locally and to the cloud and protect the school’s servers from any potentially harmful breaches. The package also includes remote monitoring of the school’s critical IT infrastructure. CTS will monitor the school’s hardware to proactively identify any connectivity issues while also keeping the infrastructure’s firmware up to date. Finally, schools with the Essentials Package can rest easy knowing their internet connection is stable and secure, and also offload the management of their internet service provider relationship, which often requires significant time and deep technical expertise.

Our Essential Plus Package includes our complete IT management platform.

In addition to the services included in the Essentials Package, CTS’s Essentials Plus Package offers your school’s in-house IT team a suite of technology tools that we know work. The package also provides access to CTS’s help desk on a metered basis, allowing the school to call for help when, and only when, it’s truly needed. 

This configuration may make sense for a school with a robust, technically savvy IT team who wants to adopt uniform technology management procedures while also having a “safety net” of an external provider who can help when the school is faced with complex IT problems. 

CTS’s Total Care Package allows schools to relieve themselves of many technology-related duties.

For schools who want to eschew technology management altogether, CTS’s Total Care Package allows them to do so, freeing up hours and hours of time that can be devoted to other instructional or non-instructional priorities. In addition to the items described in the Essentials and Essentials Plus packages, the Total Care Package includes robust day-to-day troubleshooting support via CTS’s help desk, as well as regular visits from our technical support team to monitor baseline technology operations and also address any issues that have arisen since the last on-site visit. 

The Total Care Package also includes comprehensive device management for participating schools. Regardless of a device’s operating system, CTS’s device management platform allows schools to seamlessly manage device deployment, security monitoring, and app. management so that school leadership can quickly determine the status of each and every device in their inventory.

This package works equally well for large and small schools. For new, smaller schools that are managing first-year operations, it may make sense to partner with a managed IT provider for comprehensive IT support, mindful of the time and energy it takes to maintain daily school operations as a school is just getting off the ground. Conversely, larger, more established schools may use the Total Care package to cover the diverse range of needs their school faces as it grows. Moreover, it may be difficult to hire an entire in-house team whose skills run the gamut from day-to-day troubleshooting to complex, strategic road mapping. The Total Care Package covers all of the school’s bases, all at a flat, predictable rate.

Beware of cost estimates that seem too good to be true.

Even schools that choose not to opt for one of CTS’s service packages can help keep their technology costs low by carefully evaluating the bids of prospective vendors. Many times, costs that seem good on paper can lead to gaps in services on the ground. A rate that seems unbelievably low can sometimes result in subpar service that leaves the school either struggling to manage its existing technology or forced to pay for additional services to cover the provider’s gaps.

These “surprise” charges can leave a school exactly where it didn’t want to be: in a financial hole that forces it to sacrifice other instructional or non-instructional priorities in order to manage its technology. Schools should become critical consumers of prospective providers’ bids, interrogating not only the price as it’s reflected on paper but also the experience the provider has serving similar schools, whether in terms of enrollment or years of operation. These qualitative measures of service allow the school to determine whether the projected cost of a specific provider is, or isn’t, too good to be true. 

In-depth knowledge of educational technology products helps schools lower their IT costs.

A provider with in-depth knowledge of the educational technology sector can help schools lower their existing technology costs. Armed with a bird’s eye view of the educational technology landscape, an experienced provider can recommend certain products to schools that, while perhaps less well known or new to the market, nonetheless offer benefits comparable to another suite of products the school’s considering, but at a lower price. Similarly, an experienced provider can look far into the future, anticipating costs or repairs that may arise with a school’s existing technology and allow school leadership to proactively address any long-term issues with its existing technology program.

Participation in the E-rate program can help schools manage their IT costs.

Finally, successfully navigating the federal E-rate program can help schools save thousands of dollars a year in technology-related costs. CTS has helped more than 60 schools successfully implement their E-rate bids, all while remaining within the partner school’s financial constraints. When schools evaluate CTS’s bids, they can rest assured that the projections our team provides, offers realistic, tested estimates of how much it will cost to implement the school’s bid, both on time and with a level of quality that reduces the chance of technology-related headaches in the future. 

At CTS, we help schools manage their IT costs so they can accomplish their unique missions.

CTS’s transparent and predictably priced service packages can save schools thousands of dollars a year in technology-related costs. Our team understands that running a school requires tremendous time and resources, both of which are often in short supply. This understanding informs our approach to managed IT services and helps explain our track record of success in helping schools effectively manage their technology programs to support instruction. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school achieve its unique mission. 

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