My task for this week is to think of three ways to save money so that my school district doesn’t have to lay off teachers and/or consolidate, close etc. First of all let me just say that I applaud our administration for asking. At least we have detailed information about the situation and we are being asked for input about the solution. However, since this is about the fifth time we’ve been threatened with job cuts since I started teaching just twelve years ago, it is getting more and more difficult to think of ways to save the district some money. And I must point out that this is the fifth district that I have worked for, and I was previously in a district that actually was forced to reduce its staff by several employees.
I already buy most of my classroom supplies including staples, paper clips, pens, pencils, markers, erasers, and file folders. I buy handwriting paper, card stock, paper plates, paper sacks, play dough, baby wipes, glitter, beads, stickers, feathers, paints, and anything else we need for projects or art.
I buy children’s books (at least 50 per year), professional journals, workbooks, and instruction books.
I buy snacks and treats.
I buy supplies and projects for “parent gifts” for holidays.
I buy student gifts for holidays.
I pay for a subscription to an online site that provides worksheets for math and language skills.
I bought the rugs for my classroom. I bought three of the bookshelves for my classroom. I bought the toys, games, puzzles, CDs, CD player, science supplies, and storage containers. I bought the bulletin board decorations and the writing center “white boards”. I bought the calendar and the alphabet chart.
The parents in our district buy construction paper, crayons, pencils, scissors, markers, tissues, plastic bags, and glue. Of course we don’t ask them for as much as the children actually use during the year, so by March I’m buying most of those supplies as well. We are already out of tissue and crayons.
I’m not complaining. I’m just explaining the steps I’ve already taken to try to save jobs, including my own.
The only thing left for me to buy that will save the district a significant amount of money is copy paper. So I will inform my principal that my “carnival money”, raised by working at a booth at our fund-raising event in October, can be used for paper. I don’t know how much money is even in my account. I don’t remember spending any of it last year. So maybe that will help.
I’m not sure yet what my other suggestions will be.
This is a baffling issue for me. On the one hand we have heard for generations that education is a “priority” in America. We even heard during the Bush administration that “quality education” is a priority and that NO CHILD WILL BE LEFT BEHIND. I have never understood that fantasy concept. Some children can’t even “walk” academically, so keeping them in the race with everyone else is in itself a daunting task. Doing it WITHOUT SUFFICIENT FUNDING is impossible! Each year the Department of Education expects us to do more with less money. How does that work???? With the current budget crisis we have classrooms in this country that are already overcrowded and under-supplied. How does that create a “quality education”?
And the new budget cuts seem even more insulting when we can instantly pledge $100 MILLION dollars to Haiti!! Show me where that money has been hiding!! Why didn’t we use some of it for education if we have had it sitting around waiting for a crisis? Isn’t the collapse of our education system a crisis?
Don’t send me hate mail about the difference between our country and Haiti or about the terrible devastation. Haiti was in trouble before the earthquake. Haiti had starvation, disease, and orphans before the earthquake. Where were the stars and media darlings for the 50,000 orphans that were sitting around waiting for parents before the ground shook?
Countries around the globe are in trouble and it’s wonderful that we can help them. But where will the future doctors and nurses and soldiers and missionaries and construction workers come from if we aren’t educating our own children? How will we continue to maintain an economy strong enough to help out other nations if we aren’t making wise decisions about our own nation? Who will respond to the crisis of 2030 if we are not training future leaders? There will always be wars and earthquakes and floods and famine and orphans until we go home to Jesus. The power to help others comes from a position of moral, physical, and economic strength.
So that is my soapbox for today.
And, please tell me if you think of more ways I can save money for my district.