Henshaw: Some of the stimulus funding opportunities have different eligibility requirements than what schools may be used to. For instance, some grant applications focus on eligible activities or use cases, rather than specific items.
Many applicants want to make sure the items they purchase fit eligibility requirements — they don’t want to risk any of the funding being “taken back.” We have found that, as long as you provide a good narrative and justification for your purchases — tying purchases directly to the funding priorities — this concern is largely unwarranted. We also encourage districts to connect with their state’s Department of Education throughout the process to verify that correct processes are being followed.
We’ve also heard from educational institutions that they want to make sure their purchases have longevity. They don’t want it to be a temporary, pandemic-related purchase, but a long-term investment that will benefit their students and educators for years to come. Educational leaders should have a clear vision for the role technology will play in their school, district, or campus five to ten years from now, and choose investments that support that strategy.