School Districts’ Top Purchasing Priorities for 2024-25

EdWeek Market Brief's Third Annual Special Report Looks at Upcoming School System Spending, Category by Category

Managing Editor
School District Purchasing Priorities, 2024-25, EdWeek Market Brief

It’s a time of transition in the nation’s school districts. And one of high stakes for education companies across the market.

Over the past four years, an enormous amount of federal stimulus funding, about $190 billion, has flowed into schools to support a public education system attempting to rebound from the worst of the pandemic. That funding stream is being phased out after this year. A tangled assortment of school district needs, however, have not gone away, and as a result, many school systems are showing a strong interest in maintaining spending in a variety of academic and non-academic areas, through one funding source or another.

A new EdWeek Market Brief special report takes an in-depth look at which types of products and services school districts are planning to spend the most or least amount of money on in their budgets for next fiscal year. The report, School District Purchasing Priorities, 2024-25, breaks down projected spending, product category by product category.

It also offers insights about overall market conditions, shifting district attitudes toward technology—including artificial intelligence—and the most pressing challenges facing district and school administrators, and teachers, that are influencing their buying.

The report focuses on projected spending in school systems in fiscal year 2024-25—beginning this summer and extending through the next academic year—and is based on nationally representative surveys conducted of district and school leaders, as well as classroom teachers, by the EdWeek Research Center.

Now in its third year, the report finds that core demands remain strong for many of the products that top decision-makers have come to see as essential, in areas like social-emotional learning, supplemental math and English/language arts materials, and devices, in particular.

Strong Appetite for Curriculum, Devices

It is not difficult to see why those appetites remain undiminished. There’s widespread anxiety among district and school leaders and teachers about an array of academic and non-academic hurdles. For top-level K-12 administrators, there are persistent worries about recruiting and retaining teachers. Among educators, there are concerns about students’ mental health and classroom discipline.

And there’s a conviction that the loss of federal stimulus aid will have a negative impact on academic recovery.

Readers of the report will get the following:

  • Category-by-category projections of district spending in many areas, including supplemental and core math and English/language arts curriculum; learning management and student information systems; social-emotional learning; classroom, interim, and summative assessment; on-campus and out-of-school internet connectivity; and academic resources focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A gauge on district appetites for artificial intelligence-powered products. While interest in the technology is rising in school systems and among education companies, AI-powered features, on their own, are not much of a selling point to K-12 officials. When asked what kinds of AI features they’re most interested in, district and school leaders emphasize support for teachers, privacy, and the promotion of critical thinking.
  • A read on districts’ interest in maintaining or scaling back tech. School districts have sought to rebalance the mix of print and digital products as they move further from pandemic-era remote learning, but spending on devices, and some other specific categories of tech will remain strong.
  • Data on whether districts across the country expect their overall budgets to rise or fall in the coming year, and how they expect enrollment changes, state and local budgets, and the loss of stimulus aid to affect their spending.

The findings in these and other areas will guide education companies in their sales and marketing strategies, product design, customer support, and their overall strategic vision.

Our EdWeek Market Brief members can download the report, and non-members can learn more about access here.

Image by Getty.

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