Editor's Note (The View From Here)

The Education Marketplace

Funding for public education is a complex and integrated process, with monies coming from a combination of local, state and federal contributions. On average, state and local dollars account for more than 90 percent of the money available to schools. The good news is that this year’s school budgets reflect continued improvement in state finances as a result of record gains in the stock market and overall improvement in the economy. In August, the Commerce Department revised its measure of total growth (GDP) upward and the Conference Board’s leading economic index made gains for the sixth straight month.

When it comes to federal dollars, President Obama is requesting $68.6 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education in 2015, an increase of $1.3 billion, or 1.9 percent more than the 2014 level, and almost $3 billion more than in 2013. While this may sound like a lot, the federal government accounts for only around 8.5 percent of school funding. Outside of long-term funding commitments, many of these federal funds are in the form of grants and competitive dollars and represent budget uncertainty. Fortunately, these federal dollars do not represent the lion’s share of monies available to schools.

The picture is much brighter than it has been during the past few years, but the challenge remains the same… deliver high-quality education and make every dollar count!

Our September issue is designed to help districts get the most for their money by helping them evaluate suppliers and examine the wide range of options available to them. School Planning & Management’s Education Marketplace is the most comprehensive directory of products, services and suppliers for education. This year’s directory contains product information from more than 1,800 suppliers to the education market. To make it easier to use, products are sorted by category, then subcategory. For example, under the main category “Safety and Security,” you will find subcategories for access control systems, alarms, surveillance cameras, etc.

The Product Index can be found on page 15. Find the product category you are interested in, and then flip to the designated page for a list of companies who provide this product. Full contact information for all suppliers in the directory can be found in the Suppliers Section that begins on page 54. The suppliers with bold or enhanced listings support the publication of this guide through their advertising dollars. The Product Showcase, starting on page 90, will give you more detailed information about the products and services available to you. To round out this information resource, we have included a couple of articles on effective and efficient purchasing practices. That section begins on page 8.

Our goal with this issue is to make schools better places for learning by helping you make the best use of your dollars! To help make that even easier for you, this Buyers’ Guide is available 24/7 on the Education Marketplace website at www.EducationMarketplace.com.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of School Planning & Management.

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