I believe no one has sacrificed more, as a result of budget cuts over the last few years, than our kids and our families. However, I recognize teachers and their families are also making personal sacrifices for our kids. The contracts have been signed and the instructional schedule has been finalized, with no input from parents, there is nothing we can do about that now.
However, I think there are things parents can ask Beaumont Unified School Board to do to lessen the burden on our teachers and improve the educational experience for our kids. This is why I will be asking Board President Mrs. Lara and Superintendent Dr. Kayrell to add an agenda item to a future board meeting to consider reducing the district’s budget for Travel and Conferences to pay for an increase to Materials and Supplies and increase our teachers’ classroom supplies budget.
I will be proposing an increase to the classroom supplies budget for our teachers by $200 per classroom. I know we have over 300 teachers and therefore the cost for this will be more than $60,000. The district approved $153,000 this year for travel and conferences. The Budget Review Committee (BRC) recommended a 25% cut to this budget to save $33,000. I will be asking the board to cut the Travel and Conference budget in half to fund a one-time increase for classroom supplies for the next two school years.
Over the last few years, our teachers have made financial concessions during negotiations that have impacted their families’ incomes. I am told the classroom supply budget for most teachers has been reduced to about $175. This is why, in recent years, our children regularly bring home fliers requesting donations of school supplies. I know many parents donate when they can but I also know most teachers use their own money to buy supplies they feel they need to supplement the supplies they receive from the district and donated by parents. I think our administration can, and should, forgo some travel and skip a few conferences over the next couple years in order to lighten the load for our teachers. Increasing their classroom budgets isn’t going to replace the cuts they have accepted but it will relieve some of their burden.
We should not be comfortable with our school board excluding parents while determining the best use of our kids’ resources and the direction of their educational development. In November we will have an opportunity to send this message to the board by electing two new board members who will put our kids and our families first. Until then, there are things parents should do to remind the board and administration they work for our kids.