How to Get More Out of Your School Budget

What could possibly be more important than the quality education of our rising youth? If you work in a school or academic facility, you probably have strong feelings about the importance of teaching the next generation, and we do too.

Unfortunately, not everyone else seems to agree. One problem that plagues a lot of American schools is that they’re just not given the budget they need to make the most profound impact possible on their students. Administrators constantly have to fight against limited funds, but even when appropriated efficiently and wisely, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like if there was just more money in the bank.

At Precision Data Products, we acknowledge the budgetary struggles that many schools have, and that’s why we provide our optical mark recognition (OMR) test forms at a much more affordable price than the competition, primarily led by Scantron®. While we’re not educational administrators ourselves, we’re quite connected with the academic world and we want to help in any way we can.

Want some tips on how you can get the most out of your school budget? Consider these ideas.

Perform Fund-Raisers on the Regular

While spending money wisely is a key factor in getting the most out of your budget, it never hurts to have more in the bank! Fund-raisers can be a great way to do that. This is especially true in 2019, where the need for quality education is becoming more of a trending topic on the political spectrum. The internet and connected world is making people more aware of the struggles that many public schools face, even if the government seems loath to acknowledge it.

That’s why you might have good luck if you regularly do community fund-raisers! You might be surprised at how people are willing to help your school out, and it’ll give you a lot more spending power to provide your students with the best resources they need.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Off-Brand

There are many different industries that inexplicably have a premium attached to their products, due to the nature of its use or the scarcity of competition. Take weddings, for example. If you’ve arranged one yourself, you’re probably familiar with the absurd upcharge on every single little item. Simple scraps of paper cost an arm and a leg more than they would for “normal” use. It’s a clear and blatant attempt to gauge money, but people often feel like they have no other choice.

Unfortunately, the educational sector is no stranger to arbitrary upcharges. Students face this on the regular with obscene textbook prices, and administrators pay heavy prices for classroom materials such as multiple choice test forms.

So remember this — there are, more often than you think, alternative options! That’s where Precision Data Products comes in. We provide Scantron® compatible test forms at a fraction of the price that you’d have to pay for the name brand product. The best part? Our forms are virtually indistinguishable from Scantron® sheets. The most common Scantron® form, 882-E, is available as the PDP-100 in our online store. Students won’t even be able to tell the difference between the two, and they work with all the grading machines you already have.

The price disparity between Precision Data Products and Scantron® is significant — and it’s likely that this is true for many other classroom supplies! Make sure to do your research, it could save you substantial amounts of money!

Ask for Help

Help can go a long way in a school budget, and you can quite often get enough of it to allow you to reappropriate your budget in effective ways.

Let’s take extracurricular activities for example. Suppose that your performing arts department has a certain budget, and a portion of it needs to be spent on costume supplies for an upcoming play. Instead of going to costume stores and buying expensive outfits at full price, consider a donation initiative, where students and families can bring in items themselves. Many old and unused Halloween costumes might find their way into your collection, among other things.

At the very least, this small act could allow the performing arts department to spend that money in other ways, to the net benefit of their department. In a more extreme scenario, it might be viable to use that money for other departments that desperately need some help.

It’s hard to make blanket statements about this thing because every school functions differently and has its own unique budgetary needs, but the bottom line is that, by asking for help, you may just get it! Most people aren’t on such a high-ground that they’d frown on a school for seeking assistance.

Be Attentive of Unused Supplies

In every classroom, there’s an inevitability that some things will likely go unused. If one teacherwants an extra whiteboard in their classroom for their own unique purposes, that’s fine, but it’s good to take an inventory every few months or so to determine what’s being used, and what can be moved around.

If said teacher doesn’t actually use their second whiteboard on the regular, it might be prudent for you to move it to someone else who needs it more. This is just one small example, but the idea is that you can cut on small costs by sharing as many supplies as possible.

Be Smart About Technology

Technology is tricky with school budgets because it often implies a major upfront cost with savings in the long-term. When done well, technology investments can be a major boon to schools. But if handled poorly, they can be a tremendous money sink. Here are some things you should consider when considering tech for your shool:

  • Is it futureproof? We live in a time where every little gadget gets continual renovations. If you’re investing in computers, laptops, gadgets, or other tech, make sure it won’t be something that becomes obsolete in the next couple of years. You also want to make sure the tech isn’t highly experimental, otherwise it could fade away in a year and be replaced by another system.
  • Has it been tested? It’s nice if you want to launch a school-wide initiative to equip every student with an iPad, but it might be a better idea to pilot the idea in a test classroom before you go all-in. This will allow you to work out the kinks with the program, study its cost-effectiveness, and determine whether the tech is viable as a long-term investment.

Affordable Scantron® 882-E Test Forms

We want your school to succeed! We believe in the future that new generations of students can provide, and that’s why we make quality test forms. We make them compatible with your Scantron® devices for the convenience of schools and administrators, and we offer them cheap so you don’t have to break the bank on supplies that are, let’s face it, essential.

Are you looking for affordable Scantron 882-E forms? Check out our equivalent form, the PDP-100, or any other of our test forms! We offer just about every OMR form under the sun, so we know that you’ll find what you’re looking for. Got any questions about our company or product? Contact us today!