A new trend in school districts is opening up tremendous learning opportunities for students. As more districts move toward a 1:1 technology environment, each student will have the ability to access his or her own computing device. At the same time, this trend is opening up major financial headaches for district officials scrambling to find creative solutions to cover the expense these major technology purchases bring.
One of Tennessee’s largest school districts was focused on achieving a 1:1 environment for all of its 33,000 students. The district had chosen the Lenovo Yoga Device, a convertible notebook computer, due to its rugged design and budget-friendly cost.
Nonetheless, the project would still amount to a multi-million expense for the district. Cash-flow was a critical concern, given tight budgets and with revenue arriving from the county in May and July.
The district realized it would need financial help to see the project through to completion. Lenovo offered a financing option, but the timing of their package was not flexible enough to match with the district’s unique cash-flow requirements.
First American Education Finance immediately understood the district’s situation and came to the table with ideas to solve that challenge.
Ultimately, First American developed a student technology renewal program. A creative payment structure incorporated a smaller payment in May and a larger payment in July, which allowed the district time to align their payments with their cash receipts from the county. The lease also locked in a highly competitive interest rate, which gave district officials confidence and certainty.
At the end of the lease, the district will have the option to leverage First American’s equity program as well. Under this program, First American will remarket the old computers on behalf of the school district, with any cash proceeds applied toward the next lease program.
Because First American remarkets millions of dollars of technology equipment each year, the school district can tap into that market power to much greater effect than they could achieve on their own. This not only saves officials from major hassles, it provides an effective way to subsidize the cost of new equipment for the students as the old computers become outdated.
The 1:1 program is ready to be rolled out to 33,000 students this fall, and the entire district is excited to see the impact this enhanced learning environment will have on improving learning outcomes. Each student now has the same opportunities and will be best prepared to face the digital future in education.