Needy Schools Turn to Parents For Funding

Anne Marie Chaker:

Public schools across the country, hurt by state- and local-government cutbacks, are tapping an alternative source of cash: Mom and Dad.
Parent groups and local nonprofit organizations have long raised money for activities like class trips, school dances and after-school clubs. But many parents say they now are shelling out for core curricular items that were once publicly funded — from classroom supplies to teachers’ salaries.
This fall, a parent group in Columbia, S.C., bought 100 dictionaries for a middle-school teacher who had requested them. In Kentucky, the Middletown Elementary School parent-teacher association has been discussing helping to pay the salary of a teacher aide whose job might get cut. And in Sunrise, Fla., the Sawgrass Elementary School PTA is kicking in $3,000 for news magazines that the district used to buy for classroom use. The group also is considering eliminating funding for specialized after-school clubs to free up money for classroom study programs.

Related: A look at Wisconsin’s K-12 state spending growth.