Long gone are the days of chalkboards, spiral notebooks, and overhead projectors. Classrooms are becoming “smart”—and that comes with a hefty price.

With technology on the rise now more than ever before, laptops, iPads™, Smart Boards and other devices are needed in schools nationwide. As a result, district administrators have witnessed a dramatic increase in IT budgets in recent years.

Moreover, these electronic devices are not the only factors attributing to larger IT budgets. For instance, as technology continues to grow, educational institutions are tasked with expanding their IT departments, as well as increasing spending on cyber security, mobile applications, wi-fi, and much more.

School districts all over the U.S. set aside a specific amount of money annually to spend on technology—just as they do for other necessary resources and programs such as music, the arts, and athletics. However, unlike the others, IT budgets have increased much more drastically in recent years as these institutions try to stay current.

With California, Texas, and New York leading the pack, technology spending in schools nationwide is expected to reach an unprecedented $6.6 billion in 2016—and that is only for higher educational institutions.

Tech spending for K-12 education is another $4.7 billion. With more than 89 billion students enrolled in some level of schooling throughout the country, it’s understandable how spending is increasing with no signs of it slowing down.

As society continues to dive deep into the world of technology, one thing is certain— technology isn’t going away.

Our first-graders are being handed tablets at an age where all we knew were pencils and loose-leaf paper. This is the world children are growing up in, so we need to prepare them to succeed in it.

While costs may be a concern, there are funds and financing options available and there are ways to operate extremely efficiently and cost-effectively to provide kids with the digital content and technologies they now require.

Investing in our future generations means investing in the technology today that will help them reach their potential!