EdTech Case Study: A New Lease on Learning
School District Partners with IFS for Adaptable Leasing Solution that Equips Students with New Technology Faster, While Leveraging Local Tax Levy.
Updating classroom technology is a consistent challenge for all school districts. Budgets are limited, and there is no guarantee that tax levy funding will be approved by voters. If it is, local levy is delivered only once or twice a year. One district learned that by working with Insight Financial Services (IFS) to create a custom leasing plan, it could maximize its funding and plan for the future.
“The key to helping school districts with technology financing is to take the time to understand their situation,” said Colleen O’Donnell, Vice President and Regional Director, IFS. “Because technology is changing so quickly, the old way of purchasing IT equipment upfront and holding on to it for as long as possible, is simply not viable anymore.”
The school district was working with obsolete technology equipment that needed to be refreshed across its 20 K-12 schools. With newly approved levy funding, the district needed a partner that understood how to maximize the current budget and future proof against possible changes in levy availability in subsequent years.
The district wanted to get updated technology into the hands its students as fast as possible to coincide with the beginning of the school year. And equally important, it wanted to ensure enough funding was available for the professional development of its teachers, so that the learning outcomes would be as successful. Finally, the district wanted a partner that would make the contract process as easy as possible so it could focus on educating students and supporting faculty and staff.
IFS met with the district’s IT staff to explore how best to accomplish a three-year student technology equipment refresh. Given the district’s educational calendar year, IFS created a lease structure that allowed for the refresh period to align with summer break. By doing so, technology returns would not disrupt the learning process during the school year.
As part of the leasing contract, IFS provided a fixed-price purchase portal for students, which helped to make technology acquisition available and affordable at the end of the lease. Also, in the event that equipment needed to be kept longer than the original term, IFS included an extension option.
The IFS team invested the time to understand the project thoroughly so that it would support the educational objectives of the district without disrupting the teaching and learning process.
By working together to maximize new levy funds IFS and the school district were able to provide students with 7,000 Chromebooks, making the technology to student ratio one-to-one. Remaining budget also allowed for professional development for teachers.
By maximizing the technology levy dollars with annual lease payments, the district was now able to plan for the future while maintaining current technology for its students and staff.
“Leasing allowed us to also accelerate the instructional plan. We are in a very challenging economic area…We were able to equalize the playing field very quickly with a deployment to everyone, not just some kids, not phasing it in over 6 or 7 years and missing an entire generation of kids,” said the district’s Chief Technology Officer. “The opportunity for us to not be locked in to any one device forever is also an attraction to the lease. I know that in three years I am going to reevaluate what is the best tool, given our context.”
“We are very pleased to have been able to help the district upgrade its technology in such a way that they are not locked into any one device or tool, so that students and teachers could focus on the learning with best available technology. As we continue the partnership, we will work to ensure that the school has the ability to finance its technology and professional development needs going forward,” concluded O’Donnell.
Insight Financial Services (IFS), a division of Insight Investments, LLC, delivers financially transparent technology leasing solutions for businesses acquiring hardware, software and associated services. Its Asset Management Online System (AMOS) provides anywhere, anytime asset management. An ISO 9001:2008 certified organization, IFS serves more than 400 active customers with a managed portfolio in excess of $750 million. For more information, visit www.ifsleasing.com.