Lessons Learned

Financing a 1:1 Initiative

The significant costs associated with 1:1 initiatives set them apart from other instructional innovations. Learn from the experience of other districts about what principles and practices they have found useful as they developed realistic and sustainable long-term budgets to support their 1:1 initiatives.


Key costs to consider:

  • Devices (purchase & replacements)
  • Devices’ repairs
  • Upgrading IT infrastructure
  • Peripherals & other equipment
  • Secure storage for devices
  • LMS & other software
  • Professional development costs
  • Added IT support staff
  • Added ITS teachers
  • Classrooms’ remodeling
  • Evaluation costs

Shared Experiences

  • Software costs across districts
  • PD costs across districts
  • BOCES support across districts

Districts Stories

  • East Irondequoit –Developing a sustainable technology budget
  • Addison
  • Others


  • E.I. early technology budget
  • Addison BOCES IAP
  • Ex. of protection plan
There are just any number of things that you have to make sure you would address that will cost a fair amount of money. For a business official who hasn’t been through it, it take some time to think it through. Talk to somebody that’s been through it.
John Abbott, Deputy Superintendent, East Irondequoit


When putting together a school budget, a key goal is always to minimize its impact on tax levy by avoiding “spikes” from one year to the next.  This can be challenging when purchasing expensive equipment – and student devices in particular.  

Here are some strategies district members have used:

  • Distribute the initial purchase of student devices overtime, by staggering the start of the 1:1 implementation (ideally over 4 years, the devices’ expected life)
  • Take into account the timing of BOCES aid (to be received the year following the expense)
  • Move expense that are not time-sensitive across years 
  • Use school resources as needed to buffer

INSERT thumbnail of John’s video clip of the first part of his panel presentation – see below for details – and rename the file “Avoid budget peaks & valleys”

John Abbott, Deputy Superintendent
East Irondequoit C.S.D.

Check out an example of sustainable technology budget (East Irondequoit)


In New York State, districts can benefit from state aid if they purchase equipment and services through BOCES – which can help reduced the overall cost of a 1:1 initiative significantly, as well as distribute costs overtime.  

Here are some ways district members have leveraged BOCES aid:

  • Buying student devices and other equipment through a BOCES Installment Purchase Agreement (IAP) 
  • Getting professional development through BOCES
  • Purchasing the part-time services of a BOCES instructional technology specialist (ITS)
  • Purchasing other IT support services from BOCES

INSERT thumbnail of Ken’s entire video clip from his panel presentation – current edited version – and rename the YouTube file “Leveraging BOCES IAPs”

Ken Forrester, School Business Official Addison C.S.D.


While the initial purchase of student devices is likely to be the biggest concern and budget hit when you consider a 1:1 initiative, it is important to consider other related costs – and especially costs that will continue overtime, such as replacements, repairs, additional staffing, professional development, etc.

Don’t make the mistake we made early on of thinking that you’re buying a bunch of devices – and that’s your cost. There’s more to it!
John Abbott, Deputy Superintendent, East Irondequoit

Costs to be considered:

As you prepare your budget, take into consideration all of the following costs, as identified by other districts that have engaged in a 1:1 initiative:

This will most likely your biggest upfront expense – and you will need to plan for replacements every 4 years! Also consider spreading this expense overtime by staggering implementation.

INSERT thumbnail of Joe’s video clip F001.JS01.budget for device replacement – rename the file “Budget for replacements”
Joe Sutorius, Former CIO
East Irondequoit

Student devices will inevitably require some repairs.  Budget for that – or even better, consider setting up a “device protection plan” where family are asked to pay a small annual fee to cover for potential repairs or replacement for the device to allow students to take the device out of school.

Budget for chargers, chords, keyboards, carts, and other peripherals for your devices. Other equipment – such as projection devices and more flexible furniture – will also be needed to support the desired shifts in pedagogical practices. 

INSERT thumbnail of Troy’s video clip from panel (last piece) – rename the file “Budget for other equipment” 

Troy Olin, Director of Technology, Gates-Chili

If and when you allow students to take their devices home will have implications for the need to provide secure storage space – which can turn out to be quite costly!

INSERT thumbnail of Joe’s video clip T002.JS05.storing.devices – rename the file “Budget for storing  devices” Joe Sutorius, Former CIO
East Irondequoit

Regardless of the choices made across districts about software, make sure to include this cost in your budget. True LMS’s require an annual fee, and several apps may also require purchase or annual subscription fees.

Link to pdf titled 

Software costs across districts  

The success of any 1:1 initiative will depend on a system that does not crash! Most districts realized this required updating their Wi-Fi network, hot spots, cabling, etc.  

Link to pdf of Joe – JS-4B (see at end of document) and put this text in the box:

Budget for upgrading your IT infrastructure – Interview with Joe Sutorius, Former CIO, East Irondequoit 

While PD costs will vary across districts depending on the choices made, they are an important expense to budget for – as the success of a 1:1 initiative depends heavily on the quality of the professional development provided.  Getting PD through BOCES will help!

Link to pdf titled 

PD costs across districts

A 1:1 initiative will inevitably require some additional IT staff – not only to support classroom use of technology, but also to manage the increased number of devices and software. The number will depend on district size as well as choices made for equipment and software.

Another key to success has been having expert teachers who can support their colleagues as they start implementation.  Dedicated time to play these functions will be needed – whether it comes in the form of release teaching responsibilities from current teachers, or by hiring part-time services of BOCES ITS staff or other external providers. 

Link to pdf:

Instructional Support Staff costs at East IrondequoitInterview with various school leaders  


As student devices are deployed, you can expect to be able to get rid of old technology – such as computer lab – and repurpose those resources.  However, also keep in mind that this will not occur immediately, so for some time you will have to budget to maintain both the new and old technology.

RT thumbnail of Joe’s video clip F002.JS02.budget.for.old.
and.new.technology.overlap – and rename the YouTube file “Budget for overlap of new and old technology”

Joe Sutorius, Former CIO
East Irondequoit C.S.D.


A protection plan requires families to pay a small fee to cover for potential repairs or replacement of the student’s device. It has worked well in several districts.

RT thumbnail of Joe’s video clip F004.JS06.protection.
plan.to.cover.repairs – rename the file “E.I. protection plan” Joe Sutorius, Former CIO
East Irondequoit

RT thumbnail of segment of Troy’s panel video  – rename the file “Protection plans’ issues”Troy Olin, Director of Technology


As the use of student devices will decrease the need for computer labs overtime, there will be resources that you can repurpose – including space, equipment costs, and lab monitors.

Here are some ways district members have repurposed these resources to directly support their 1:1 initiative:

  • Using the room to set up a building-based “Help Desk” during the year and to store devices in the summer
  • Stop replacing desktops, and use those funds to replace student devices
  • Have lab monitors play new support functions
  • When lab monitor retire, use the budgeted funds to cover for release time for teachers playing the role of instructional technology specialist.

SURE what to include here – maybe the excerpt from John Abbott’s interview 

John Abbott, Deputy SuperintendentEast Irondequoit C.S.D.