Sunday, February 20, 2011

money makes the world go round

maybe i can print my own money....
Dear reader,
Some of you will find this post tacky or whinny but it's my blog and I want to lament about my lack of budget. In my district art teachers are so far and few between that the district does not have an art budget. It is up to each school to pull from their general funds to create an art budget. This means some schools allocate several dollars per student while other schools allocate pennies per student for materials. Without a doubt the SES of each school's community impacts the art budget.

My school is on the low end of the SES scale and over the years our student body has grown and our PTA has disbanded. This year I was allocated .88 cents per student to buy supplies. By the request of the school principal I used half of my money at the start of the school year. I was told I would receive the other half of my budget to use on February 1st. I prepared my 2nd supply order and turned it into the office on the 1st. On the 5th I was given my supply form back with a note that said that there was no money left to buy supplies.

That's impossible, I thought. My budget is in a special account and only I can access it. Obviously there was confusion about how much money I had used that year. Turns out my budget money was never put into my account and was left in the general fund and used by the whole school. Unfair or not their is no money left to order supplies for the rest of the year. The school will continue to provided photocopy paper till the end of the year and nothing else.

There are two major problems here. First, I'm missing half of the supplies I need to get though the year. Second, and even worse, I have not been frugal using our current supplies because I fully expected to replenish everything this month. At this moment I have two bottles of red tempera paint to my name.

I have spent the last week trying to find ways to get money or supplies.
I wanted to have a art room fundraiser but the leadership team has said no. It was decided at the start of the year that we would refrain from fundrasing this year. Since 94% of our students are free/reduced lunch they do not want to burden families by asking for money in these tough times. There goes that idea.

So I will have to get money elsewhere. I have a donors choice project in the works that hopefully will get me some supplies and I'm searching for other small grants. I'm hoping to tade my 200lbs of unused clay with other district art teachers for some tempera paint, glue and construction paper. I hope I get some more amazing ideas because .44 cents per student is not going to cut it as a acceptable budget for this year.


  1. This is unacceptable! And to think of what was probably bought instead. Getting mad won't help but I'm mad for you! I thought I was under funded at 3 dollar/kid. What a mess!

  2. insanity. It amazes me what schools do to our programs. I thought I was underfunded..but I am not that low. The way I handle it when things get low is to use recyclable materials...pull out the toilet paper rolls, bottle caps, newspaper, magazines, egg cartons and papier mache. Send out a note to the homes asking for these materials...put a bin in the lobby of the school...there's no way that people can't do this for you. I'm so sorry.

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  4. I completely understand your problem. I too only have a few cents to spend per child. Just something simple like white paper is treated like gold in my class. Usually by the end of the year, I run out of supplies and do recycled art with the kids. This year, I have also applied for several grants. Good luck. Hopefully something works out.

  5. I have a story that might make you feel a little bit better. This is my third year in my school district and the first year I have been allowed a "wish list", those are the exact words when I asked for money for supplies. My first year they put me in an old English class room with nothing but two sinks and books. I basically bought ALL the supplies that year...which meant no exciting lessons. Mostly crayon/ color pencils/ sometimes charcoal and paint for my advanced kids. Last year I moved to a new school(elementary), and thankfully there were some left over supplies from the year before. I also beg the classroom teachers to give me one box of crayons, one bottle of glue, one pack of construction paper, etc. Since the kids bring supplies at the beginning of the year. Finally, this year I recieved about $200 worth of supplies from my "wish list". Today I received an email to the fine arts department asking for suggestions to "trim" our budget. I almost fell out of my chair because how am I supposed to trim something that is non-existant? Anyhow, I teach in Texas where they plan to cut $9 billion from our education funding next year so I probably won't even have a job. I am sorry I hope my sad sad story made you feel a little bit better, and ask the other teachers to donate some supplies to your class. You teach their kids too! How is it fair that they get a supply list sent home and we don't?

  6. Where can I find your email? I'll try to convo you on ETSY, too. I might have some things I can send personally, but I am not sure if you want them.

  7. I am so sorry for you (and the other underfunded teachers). I am very fortunate to teach at an upscale private school, so I have access to almost anything I could dream of. I can't even imagine having to spend my small salary on art supplies for 500 students - What has this world come to!

    I might have some things that I can send your way from my personal stash - how can I contact you?

  8. Thanks for your supportive comments and kind thoughts. I was able to get my hands on more tempera paint and construction paper than I had before. Turns out the 7th-8th science teacher had been hording a LOT of construction paper and some of the paint that was supposed to go to me. They were not well labeled and she grabbed them at the start of the school year so that students could make posters and projects. Several 7th graders ratted her out and she gave me the supplies back. Even more promising, the high school my school feeds into is being closed at the end of this school year and the art teacher is trying to find a way to just pass the supplies off to me instead of turning them in to the district. We just need to make them move from her room and into my room without anyone noticing.

  9. Here's one idea- contact a local framing shop and see about getting their matboard discards. They can be used instead of paper. I have found that they bow if you put too much paint on them, such as painting the entire thing, but they would certainly work for drawing on. I have also used them for a pointillism project which used a minimal amount of paint so it wasn't too wet.
    You can also cut them into small pieces and make collages with them - and yes, just glue the smaller matboard pieces to a larger piece of matboard.
    Also, I am using matboard scraps as the front and back covers of some small accordian books I am making with students this week.
    I'm sure you could also use them to build sculptures with if you had a good way to adhere them.

  10. I just did a fundraiser through Original Works. Check it out: They provide paper and all you have to do is have your kids make art, send it home to parents to buy something cute with the artwork on it and ta-da! easy money made for your art program. It turned out really well for me.