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First, things (Programs and staff) that are valued get the neccesary
resources (money, time, recognition).
Secondly, when cuts are made teachers need to respond to those cuts in same
manner that happens in business. If it costs $3.00 to deliver this level of
service, teacher should not "make up the difference" with additional time
or their own money. He said, "There should be some consequence for cutting
budgets." When we provide the difference, this tactic sends the wrong
message to the decision makers, that is, the same level of services,
materials will remain constant even though we cut the resources. It then
becomes necessary that teachers use the allocated funds wisely and cost
I know that I will hear some responses to the contrary, but I have always
used this tactic when dealing with the site-based budget process. You have
to know where the resource decisions are made and work to be a part of that
I put together a report of how materials budgets look at a $1.00 per
student. The teachers on the site-based committee were shocked to learn
that for a dollar each student has one pencil, 1/4 cup of paint, 10 sheets
of colored paper, 5 sheets of drawing paper, one marker, etc. This was
based on only the items available in the district warehouse. I then
compared district purchase catalogs from my first year of teaching in 1985
to the present and found a 46% decrease in my buying power, this was not to
mention the inferior quality of many materials that were now substituted
for the better (more expensive) products of the past.
There are many projects/experiences that the principal or grade-levels want
to see happen every year. I point out that without the necessary budget,
they can't happen. It is not that _I_ won't do it, but that these given
factor don't allow it to happen. It is not a punitive thing, it's reality.
Consequently I have the largest elementary art budget in my district (about
$2.60 per student, while the rest have $1.00) I have tried to get out of
the thinking that my principal "gives" me this amount, as thought it were a
prize, but think of its as what have I demonstrated to be necessary for the
level of program the school and student have come to expect.
Elementary Art Specialist
at Los Ranchitos School
President of the Arizona Art Education Association