Practicum Week 2: The Dreaded Budget Talk

Or, I should say, the “Lack of Budget” Talk.  The staff at Hampton attended a meeting this week on how the school has already depleted much of its budget for this school year, and everyone is now on a very restricted “resource” diet.  One of the first limitations to come to effect is the use of paper: everyone is limited to just TWO reams of paper from now ’til the end of the school year. Not two reams a month…just two reams from now ’til the end of the year (school ends in June in MI).

It’s bad enough that all teachers have to adhere to this, but what about the media center?  After all, the media center and the adjacent computer lab house three different printers that students and teachers print to, sometimes from their classrooms.  It seemed unfair that a space that’s open for everyone to use would have to adhere to the 2-ream limit like everyone else.

It’s kind of a wakeup call for me that this conversation even needed to take place!  After all, we are talking about PAPER.  When I mentioned this at the dinner table, my 10-year-old said, “But mom, I can go through a ream of paper all by myself in two weeks!” (She’s exaggerating, but not by much…she does a LOT of paper craft in her spare time.)  I know that many teachers/media specialists purchase supplies for their rooms throughout the year due to lack of funding, but it’s sad that something as fundamental as paper isn’t provided.  And if the media specialist uses her limited budget on those types of purchases, that has bound to affect her ability to develop the collection, as well.  At the end, the students are the ones to suffer.

P.S. In the couple of weeks since I’d first written this post, I have seen the school’s tech facilitator go around the school looking for the “culprit” who printed to another teacher’s classroom printer.  Another teacher talked about how she was encouraging kids to print out their research articles at home rather than at school.  I joked with my mentor that as a parting gift, when I leave her to go do my middle-school placement, I’d get her a Costco-sized case of printer paper instead of a gift card to Panera like I originally planned.  She laughed, but I have a feeling that she would totally take me up on it!

What are some of the budget woes you have encountered and what are some creative ways to stretch those budgets?