Budget cuts have a profound effect on the programs, curriculum and activities a school offers. You’ve probably seen the impact at your own child’s school. Did you know there are ways to help? Improve your child’s school with these five tips.
- Join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Founded in 1897, the PTA is the oldest and largest parent/teacher organization in the United States. The PTA brings together a network of community and business leaders, school administrators, parents and teachers devoted to family engagement and educational success. The PTA advocates for children and families to create strong strong schools within their communities.
- Participate in Fundraisers
According to fundraising experts at ABC Fundraising, school fundraisers have become the go-to tool to improve schools. When budget cuts mean that even the most basic supplies such as pencils and books fall by the wayside, a fundraiser can fill in the gap.
Fundraisers are also ideal for keeping extracurricular activities afloat. For example, the marching band at North Hardin High School in Kentucky had a chance to perform before 50 million people in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With about a year and a half to get ready, the band needed to raise money for the trip as well as to pay for new uniforms. The band’s fundraising efforts paid off and the band performed at the parade. Every member wore a brand-new uniform.
- Attend School Board Meetings
The district school board in your community has a direct impact on the way your child’s school functions. The board is responsible for the annual budget, release of periodic financial reports, adoption of the school year calendar, union employee contract negotiations, construction of or closure of district schools and curriculum material approvals.
The board sets the vision for the district and, in most cases, meets monthly. Public school board meetings are by law open to the public. You can learn a lot about the challenges your child’s school faces by attending meetings. Many districts structure board meetings to allow public input. That’s your chance to speak up about your concerns.
In most states, board members are elected officials. Get to know the candidates before the election. Vote for school board candidates with the educational vision with which you agree.
Budget cuts often mean that enrichment events, such as field trips and special interest clubs, either don’t happen often or don’t happen at all. Get in touch with your child’s teacher and ask what you can do.
Here are a few of the possible ways to help:
- Offer to drive on field trips.
- Volunteer to help chaperone events or on trips.
- Volunteer your time for in-class activities.
- Schedule time at the school library to check out books, shelve returned items and oversee activity to keep the library open longer.
- Use Your Talent
If you have a specific expertise, consider offering your services to the school. How about organizing a fun field trip to tour your company? Or, put that green thumb to good use and spruce up the schoolyard. Do you love to cook? Volunteer to do a cooking demonstration in the classroom.
Even if you don’t think you have a special talent to contribute, you could organize a schoolyard cleanup or charitable event. The most effective way to improve your child’s school is to get involved yourself.