At our school we get a fixed amount (2,800) per teacher, regardless of the enrollment (200 kids per teacher average) As a team of teachers, we share our money, so that the pottery teacher one year may need more clay, and perhaps the painting teacher has a stash of brushes that do not need to be replaced. We order the January before the next year, blindly, because we have no idea how many students are in our classes as they haven't enrolled yet. Middle school and elementary schools are allotted less. Keep in mind, I am in New Jersey where the property taxes subsidize the schools and we pay dearly. I suspect that most of you with small budgets have a low property tax base, and would faint if you heard what we pay for taxes. Does this justify small budgets? NOT AT ALL, I also suspect that monies are not distributed fairly in your school systems, and that there is not a watchdog in your department (read: strong supervisor) to fight for your allotment. When I was teacher leader (we have now gone to a supervisor
y system), I would go to the Business Administrator every year, and bring the art catalogue with me. I would show him what we could actually get for the money alloted each student (if you broke our budget down per student). I would also bring the catalogue from the year before, and show him the rise in prices. Whether he was listening or not, or whether he just wanted me to go away, I didn't care, he raised the amount to keep up with inflation, and allotted more when we hired additional teachers. As in all "systems" or "businesses" there is waste, inequities, and favoritism. You have to fight for "yours". As an aside to this conversation, everyone knows, including my students, that I buy a lot of supplies with my own money. These are supplies that can not be found in the "bid approved" catalogues and I need them for my specific area: puppetry. I am sure everyone of us on the listserve buys supplies with their own money. I am not silent when I spend my money. If a faculty member or an administrator praises ou
r puppet shows, for example, I tell them how much the stage was that I bought, or I let them know that the sound system was purchased with a grant that I wrote. Obnoxious? Of course, but I won't let them think that these items were paid for by their budget system. Then the next time when I plead my case for more money, I am hoping that the seed that I planted (hmmm she paid for that herself) will subconsciously germinate so that I can get more money. After 34 years, you figure out what works for you.