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How to Influence Decision Makers on School Budget Cuts

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Eighty percent of schools across the country had their budgets cut last year. This is a key time when big decisions are made about your child's school and what resources are being allocated to them. But there are things parents can do to get informed and influence decisions before these big decisions are made.

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How to Influence Decision Makers on School Budget Cuts

Stacey Boyd, CEO of Savvy Source, a national resource on finding good schools shares these four key tips:

1. Get in the Know!

Most school board meetings are open to the public. Agendas legally need to be posted in advance of the school board meetings. Call your district and get both the dates school board meetings are to be held, the agenda, and supporting materials for those meetings. If a budget is being proposed, you should, as a member of the public, be able to get your hands on it before the meeting.

2. Mobilize a Movement

If things that matter to you are being cut, mobilize. Get other parents who are concerned about the same things to appear at the board meeting to speak on behalf of the issue along with you. Coordinate beforehand. Ensure consistent messaging.

3. Do the Math

Realize that budgeting is mostly a zero sum game. If you don't want something to be cut, you'll likely need to help figure out what can be. Be part of finding the solution, not just defining what cuts you don't want to happen.

4. Get Creative on Fundraising

At the end of the day if the things get cut you believe are essential, don't despair. Turn to the world of social media and web 2.0 to help minimize those cuts and supplement them. There are some very powerful ways to harness the internet and raise money for causes that matter to you, such as www.Schoola.com. These are not your typical bake sales. They can raise big bucks. And save that art teacher or coveted after school program!
What have you done to get involved in the school budget discussion in your community?
stacey boyd headshot Stacy Boyd is the Founder & CEO of The Savvy Source for Parents, an online destination that helps parents navigate their children’s early education years. It’s also the organization behind Schoola, a website that helps raise money for schools based on the group coupon model.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Comments

One Response to “How to Influence Decision Makers on School Budget Cuts”

  1. Stacy,

    I’m so glad you posted this! It is essential for parents to get involved at every level — at the school, in the community, at school board meetings and at the state level, if they can. I have worked tirelessly for the past 5 years at my kids’ school to raise money, save teachers and programs that the school district didn’t care about! We all have to get involved! I just wrote a book called A Mom’s Guide to School Fundraising, which shows parents the HOW of fundraising. Whether you’re new to life at the school or a seasoned veteran parent, the book can help everyone. It’s great for public and private, big and small schools and can even be used for sports team and club fundraising.

    I’m so happy to see other parents talking about the importance of fundraising and getting involved so that we can all be proactive when it comes to our kids’ education!

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