**Musings & Math on the Real Cost of Teaching with Software**

by Neil MacQueen, …Math Wiz and Donut Lover

by Neil MacQueen, …Math Wiz and Donut Lover

**For sure… Donuts Taste Great
But in the long-run, they are less filling,
AND donuts are a lot more expensive than software.**

I originally wrote this article after one of MY OWN church’s naysayers stood in our Fellowship Hall one Sunday morning * sipping his free coffee and munching on free cookies while *complaining about the money we had spent in Sunday School on videos and software. Then I updated this article after my church Treasurer approached me,

*free coffee in hand*, to caution us about the money we were spending on fixing up our Sunday School rooms (even though we were

*waaaay*under budget).

**Tip O’ the Day: **

**PENNY-PINCHERS ACTUALLY HATE MATH…. so use a lot of it.**

### Here’s Le Real Math…

**Cost for a dozen Krispy Kremes = ****$6.00 per class.**

**Cost of three copies of Awesome Bible CD = $69 **(3 CDs x $23 ea.)

**Awesome Bible Stories CD has 6 different major Bible story lessons. **

$69 ÷ 6 lessons = $11.50 per class.

$11.50 divided by 6 kids in the class = **$1.91
for software per student per week.**

** But the funny thing about software, is that UNLIKE donuts and coffee, software is RE-USABLE. **We all RE-TEACH major stories every couple of years. If you use each story in Awesome CD twice per student over a period of years, then you are actually getting 12 lessons from your $69, which equals

**89 CENTS per student**.

**This is less than a donut,**

** …lasts longer than a donut,**

** ……and is more important than a donut.**

**This is also LESS EXPENSIVE than art supplies, and the coffee your adults swill for “free.”**

#### To look at it another way…

**5 grades x 6 different stories = 30 weeks of Awesome Bible Stories CD lessons for $69.**That’s

**$2.30 PER WEEK for software for the ENTIRE CLASS, compared to $6 for donuts.**- REPEAT the same stories 3 or 4 years later with Awesome CD and you’ve now gotten
**60 lessons from your $69 investment.**

### Doesn’t it bother you

that they GIVE AWAY FREE COFFEE

to ADULTS

but question and deny your

teaching resource budget?

(Does me)

THE COFFEE FREELOADERS MATH:

THE COFFEE FREELOADERS MATH:

Cheap Church Coffee is about $8 a pound. There are 40 cups of coffee in one pound. Eight divided by 40 cups =** 20 cents for the “free” coffee**.

Now **add 5 cents** for the styrofoam cup, and 5 cents for the creamer/sugar.

**That’s 30 cents per cup of “free coffee”** nobody ever complains about giving to the adults.

**If they have TWO cups of “free” coffee and reuse the cup…. you’re now up to 55 cents per adult.**

**Add a 50 Cent donut** and you’re now up to **$1.05 PER ADULT every week.**

[In fact, churches spend FAR MORE $$$ on adults than children if you count the pastor’s salary and air-conditioned sanctuary, but I digress.]

**BY CONTRAST….**

**The freeloaders question or want you to cut your resource budget because you want to spend 89 Cents per kid on a Bible lesson CD.**

**“We can’t afford it !” –**These say with their mouth full of free coffee and donuts.

**“How long, O LORD, will wicked ignorant people triumph?” ** -Psalm 94:3 -You mumble under your breath.

**Donuts, Diapers and JESUS**

**Donuts, Diapers and JESUS**

Life of Christ CD is a workhorse program that most computer labs use for 3 to 4 stories a year. If you use it with your 30 OJ swilling kids four times a year that’s 120 “kid uses” of the CD per year (4 uses x 30 kids = 120 kid-uses).

Use it for five years in a row = 600 kid-uses. (5 x 120)

**You spent $64 on those **two Jesus CDs that lasted you 5 years and had 600 kid touches. $64 ÷ 600 = **11 CENTS per kid each time they turn on Life of Christ CD. **

*You spend more on DIAPERS and WIPES for the nursery.
You spend more on Graham Crackers and Juice. (1 box of Graham Crackers $4 a week, 1 gallon juice = $3 a week)*

**BONGO versus “FREE” COFFEE MATH:**

1 copy of Bongo Loves the Bible CD = $25

Each week, a different grade 1-5 class uses Bongo.

$25 divided by 5 weeks = **$5 per week to use Bongo.**

**BUT…** you have 2 kids using Bongo at the same time

So $5 divided by 2 kids = **$2.50 per kid-use.**

**But wait! ** **Bongo has ***4* different games!

*4*different games!

So you can use it for a total of 20 weeks with five different grades –without repeating a game.

$2.50 per kid divided by 4 games = **62 cents/kid**

And Bongo does not go away. Kids will want to play it again and again. So let’s say they play each game TWICE over the next couple of years. (repetition is the cornerstone of Bible Memory).

**So…** if the COFFEE MAN’S DAUGHTER plays all 4 Bongo games in the 3rd grade, and repeats them two years later in the 5th grade, increasing her mastery of Bongo’s core Bible content…..

**62 cents divided by 2 tours through the BONGO software =**

** 31 CENTS per student to own Bongo**

** And….it gets even lower** per kid when you factor in **quantity pricing**.

So for example, if you had 5 copies/computers of Bongo at the qty price of $105,

then the actual cost of BONGO PER USE, PER KID = **~ 26 CENTS per kid ~ *** *

*How much IS that craft costing you? *

A good one with interesting ART materials and design might cost you $1 per kid.

Boring our kids with cheap throw-a-way crafts is vastly more expensive than software.

btw: Learn more about Bongo Loves the Bible here!

Before we get much further, somebody please calculate the cost of boring students so they don’t want to come to Sunday School….

I thought so.

### C**omputer Math!**

### Hopefully you got them donated new or used. But let’s say you go out and ACTUALLY PAY FOR YOUR COMPUTERS with the church’s money…

**Here’s THE REAL COST of a NEW COMPUTER:**

1 good new computer will last 7 to 8 years in the average Sunday School.

So, let’s say you use it 40 Sundays a year (Sept-May). **8 years x 40 weeks of use per year = 320 classtime uses.**

A decent inexpensive new computer and 20″ monitor in 2013 can be bought for $400. So….divide $400 by 320 uses and you get….

*$1.25 cost per week for 1 new computer over it’s lifetime.*

*$1.25 cost per week for 1 new computer over it’s lifetime.*

Reverting back to donuts….that’s about the cost of 6 donut holes per week.

Divide that in half because you have 2 kids in front of that new computer, and **your BRAND NEW COMPUTER is costing your 62 CENTS per kid per use.** That’s less than the cost of good art project materials.

## Total up the cost of new computers + all the software you need, and you’re at about

$1.00 per kid every time you step into the computer lab.

Now use the computers another 100 times outside of Sunday School over the next 7 years and watch your costs per use go even lower.

#### More Donut Math Examples!

**EXAMPLE #1: Play and Learn CD: “The 20 cent CD”**

My lab has four copies of Play & Learn Childrens Bible CD. Cost: $12 each x 4 =$48. We use them about 10 lessons a year with our little kids, and in my last church we were going on SIX years using them. That’s $48 divided by 60 uses **= 32 CENTS every time we’ve pull out all four Play & Learns.** And we’re not done using them. We’ll be using that CD for several more years, I’m sure. Final cost per use = somewhere below 20 CENTS per lesson.

**EXAMPLE #2: Jesus in Space:”The 22 Cent CD”**

Buy 2 copies of Jesus in Space CD and it will cost you $52.00. If you have 20 kids in your ENTIRE Sunday School, that’s $2.60 a kid. (You’d bring them in 4 to 6 kids at a time to use those 2 copies).

BUT….the CD has 3 stories so you need to divide $2.60 by 3 stories = 86 cents per kid each time you drop the CD in the tray.

That’s the price of 3 donut holes per kid.

#### But wait! …there’s more!

You’ll most likely use all 3 stories at least TWICE over the next four or five years. That cuts the cost to 33 cents per kid per use. (62 cents/24 uses)

And if you have 2 copies of that CD and 40 kids in your program using each story twice over the next 5 years, your FINAL COST =20 cents per kid.

BY CONTRAST…

The FILM projector your church bought the Sunday School in 1985 cost $700, which adjusted for inflation in 2012 is $1516 dollars. And you MAYBE showed a film on it 6 or 7 times a year?

**The Cost of Getting Started Scenarios**

**Scenario 1: The Cost of a “Basic” Software Library**

Let’s say I buy $250 worth of software a year -for four years in a row which covers all **four **computers. Total: $1000 for all 4 years. *Seems steep*. But remember that ALL the CDs I buy will get used for many more than four years! –I’m going on 8 years of use with many of the CDs. So that $1000 worth of software covers me for EIGHT YEARS. Thus, **my per year cost over eight years is really only $125 worth of software** -which covers all four computers for eight years.

That’s **ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY FIVE BUCKS A YEAR spread over 8 years for a “basic” reusable software library for four computers. **

Divide that $125 a year by 40 Sundays = **$3.12 a week**. Thus, it costs you three dollars and twelve cents every time you walk into your computer lab for eight years. And that’s a conservative software library budget. Would you be willing to spend $4 or $6 a week on those four computers and 8 kids? ** I would**, if it makes a difference in their lives and our program.

**Scenario 2: The Cost of an Awesome Software Library!**

Let’s say your “Awesome” library is double the cost of your “basic” library’s cost of $3.12 a week. So a great software library costs you **$6.24 a week** —**for all four computers over an eight year period,** **using the computers 40 weeks/class period a year**.

I’ve done games and drama lessons where I spent more per week!

**RANT-IN-CONCLUSION:**

A box of 20 “Timbit” donut holes from Tim Hortons is about $4. Add a quart of **orange juice** for $3… and you’re spending MORE on snacks than software per week.

+ A new computer costs you $1.71 per week over its lifetime.

**Total it all up and we’re somewhere in the neighborhood ****of ****10 BUCKS PER WEEK**** to run FOUR new computers with ****a decent software library …for the next 8 years.**

(I’d make that text BIGGER but it would break the page.)

We can crunch the numbers a lot of different ways. Your numbers will depend on your kids, the number of computers, and the number of times you repeat lessons from software over the course of 5 to 8 years. But anyway you crunch them, software and computers are not really that “EXPENSIVE” over time.

**Turning child attenders into bored kids and unchurched adults….. now THAT’S Expensive!**