In continuation to my concerns of public education series, I will be discussing the letter F. F is for funding. Funding is a major concern to many teachers in public education.
In my district teachers receive $225 in BEP and Negotiated money. This is money for instructional and teaching supplies. Supplies that I need each year include markers, pens, staples, tape, cardstock, tag board, drawing paper, construction paper, tissues, paper plates, paper towels, etc. This money is also used to purchase instructional resources and classroom supplies such as bulletin board boarders and classroom books.
In kindergarten at my school, parents send a supply fee and the teachers buy the students’ supplies. The students’ supplies include glue sticks, scissors, crayons, markers, paint, etc. Each year the money runs out before the end of year. In kindergarten, we create many art projects and use a lot of art supplies. I spend much more money in kindergarten than I did when I was teaching eighth grade.
This year we were told that we could not ask for a supply fee but rather a donation. Therefore, this places a view of the supply money being optional. I am uncertain of how many parents will opt not to pay the fee.
Teachers spend much of their own money on the students each year. I make pictures of my students and create memory books for parents. The film developing and supplies are usually out of my pocket costs. I also purchase snacks and other special treats for my students.
If our supply money runs out, we buy new supplies out of our own personal money. At my school, we are limited on how much copy paper we are given. Because kindergarten age children cannot use regular notebooks or copy well from the board, we use a lot of copy paper. In the past, I have had to purchase my own boxes of copy paper to make review sheets and homework for the students.
Funding is always a major concern and set back for lower grade teachers in my area.