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US schools’ IT budgets on the rise, AV deployment finally gains post-pandemic traction

As schools across the USA recover from the extensive supply chain delays of recent years, many have started to revisit and restructure their IT strategies. This includes a move towards device and equipment personalisation, to achieve long-term goals and align with newly formed digitisation trends. 

That’s according to a new edtech AV report from Futuresource Consulting, which also shows school IT budgets are beginning to grow. From an average of $2.07 million in 2021, annual IT budgets in 2022 were averaging nearly $2.5 million. In addition, school IT decision makers expect to see a 15% rise in spending in 2024.  

Based on interviews with 414 IT decision makers across all 50 US states, the report provides a window into K-12 schools’ thought processes, ownership and investments in AV devices, as well as planned future purchases. 

AV device budgets grow, strategic solutions lead the way 

“Taking a closer look at the detail, around 25% of total available IT budget is being allocated to AV devices,” says Natalie Tapera, Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting, “and schools are now looking to make better use of that budget. During the pandemic, there was a fairly rapid, knee-jerk response. Districts made snap purchases and faced delays in deployment. Now, decision makers are increasingly looking for long-term solutions that provide better value, quality, and communication with students and staff.” 

Out of the total budget allocated toward AV devices, the largest share of investment went toward interactive projectors, accounting for a 7% share of purchases. 

Indeed, projectors and displays are seeing increased demand, and remain the leading solutions to be adopted in the classroom. Interactive flat panel displays are expected to see positive growth in the next two years, partly because they support a collaborative teaching environment. According to the decision-maker feedback, over the next two years, interactive displays and interactive projectors equipped in the classroom look to both grow by 3%, while non-interactive devices will see a downturn. 

Connectivity, casting and collaboration climb the agenda

To make the most of increased device ownership in the classroom and support collaborative initiatives, over 80% of respondents indicated the need for wireless casting to teacher or student devices from their display.  

“Schools are increasingly focusing on cloud computing and wireless presentation solutions as top priorities,” says Tapera. “They are also placing network connectivity and OS upgrades high on the list of upcoming investments. Many continue to see issues in their infrastructure and inability to support fast connections, especially for those with large student populations and a strong one-to-one device program.” 

Budget influence and control back on track

“We’re also seeing a continuance of last year’s trend of budget influence and control moving towards technology directors, CTOs and CIOs,” says Tapera. “Traditionally, these roles have sat lower in the school hierarchy, but there’s now a push for more streamlined processes and strategic alignment to maximise long-term impact and value for students. 

“Alongside this transition, principals are also taking back control from the board of governors, signifying a return to a share of school-level influence. This is crucial for long-term planning, and presents a pivotal opportunity for vendors.” 

For more information on Futuresource Consulting’s new Edtech Voice – AV Devices research report, or to make a purchase, please contact 

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About the author

Natalie Tapera

Natalie Tapera is a Market Analyst within the Edtech team at Futuresource. 

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