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3 Key challenges in Equipment Management for Public Charter Schools

I will be leading a discussion in the upcoming National Conference for Charter Schools (June 21 the National Charter School Conference 2015 (New Orleans, June 21-24, 2015) on how to manage the physical and IT assets more efficiently. The National Charter School Conference 2015 has decided to include “Equipment Management Best Practices for Grant Management” as a topic in the Operation track of discussions.

I am very encouraged to see this.

The number of charter schools has been increasing rapidly in the past decade. There are about 6000 charter schools in the U.S. currently. Many of them receive federal grants. More than 300 charter schools receive more than $1M annually from federal sources (source: NECS). They spent the grants in programs, equipment and facilities. The fact is that most charter schools don’t have equipment management best practices in place. Lack of equipment management best practices will ultimately lead to waste of tax payer dollars.

Federal government agencies do require that the grant recipients maintain a certain standards in equipment management practices. Any federal grantees who receive more than $500k in federal grant annually are subject to Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that specifies equipment management practices, including equipment tracking, annual reporting, and inventory audit.

However, many charter schools are facing challenges in meeting these requirements.  The 3 key challenges they are facing:

  1. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Lack of top level support and prioritization
  2. Lack of internal knowledge and expertise in equipment management best practices
  3. Lack of adequate systems and tools inside these grantee organizations

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