San Juan Unified School District took things into their own hands by partnering with advertising firms, using advertising and sponsorship dollars to boost their budget, which took a huge cut of about 20% of unrestricted funds this year. The school district hopes that partnering with advertising firms will bring in $1-$2 million to help with the deficit.
I used to work with a nonprofit organization called the 100% for Kids Credit Union Education Foundation, which is a Credit Union and grant-facilitated foundation that gives 100% of its incoming funding directly to schools. I had the opportunity to meet with the board to discuss grant opportunities, and was surprised to see that many of the schools that applied for grants didn’t ask for money to buy apple laptop computer, but needed money for something as simple as books. How sad that these schools didn’t/don’t even have enough money to provide necessary resources for their students. This was one dramatic experience where I realized that I wanted to be part of an education movement that helped schools get what they needed in order for students to succeed.
After studying about economics of education in school, and with all the political hubbub that surrounds budget decisions for education in each state, I have come to realize that there is a lot more to this conversation than meets the eye. Without turning this into a major thesis paper, I’m just going to say that with the way some federal and state policies read, I wouldn’t be surprised if school districts have been scared to get a little creative in the way they organize, distribute, and spend their dollars.
The more I learn about the economics of education, the more I realize that schools and communities know their needs best, AND if school districts are not getting what they need from local, state, or federal entities, they should have the flexibility to be able to do what they can to go after those resources.
Kudos to the San Juan Unified School District! See the news video from CNN below.