My Two Cents: Alternative Funding

In the latest installment of My Two Cents, Principal magazine asked principals where they find alternative sources of funding for school programs when faced with budget cuts. Here's how some of you responded:

At Homestead Elementary, we have a penny war every January. The proceeds go to our playground improvement fund. It's a great time of year to do it—the weather's bad, and students get excited to raise money for new playground equipment they can use in the spring. Plus, it's a great learning experience. Students learn math and competition strategies. The classroom that wins gets a special party and an hour of extra recess. That's my two cents!
Diane K. Hull, Principal, Homestead Elementary, Dailey, West Virginia

Our staff has partnered with our parent group to plan fundraising opportunities that influence student learning and well-being. For instance, our Laps for Learning Walk-a-Thon raises significant funds for classroom grants, virtual field trips, hands-on science assemblies, and more. This event includes a health and fitness week targeting all students. Plus, in an effort to try to avoid continually seeking funds from our families, we promote the collection of Box Tops for Education, which provided $6,000 last year for us to purchase an iPad for each classroom!
Erin Simpson, Principal, Overlook Elementary School, Wadsworth, Ohio

I charge companies/organizations for advertising to our school for their programs. I ask for a school donation and I'll be happy to solicit their program to our students. Every penny counts!
Laura Wilson, Principal, Redstone Elementary School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Our school is unique in that it is a federal school funded by the Bureau of Indian Education for K-2 grades.  However, because of a Congressional moratorium on expansion of grades at BIE schools since 1991, I applied for an Arizona State Charter for grades 3-5 that was allowed on the federal trust land with a special agreement with the BIE.  This combination has given my school the ability to apply for Impact Aid funds and Arizona State grants.  It has been a win-win for the school and community.
Jacquelyn Power, Principal, Blackwater Community School, Coolidge, Arizona

We are very fortunate to work in a district that offers grants funded by the employees and business partners. Teachers and administrators can apply to have their projects funded. Thank you, Northside Education Foundation!
Kasey Carle Crick, Vice Principal, James L. Carson Elementary School, San Antonio, Texas

I remain alter to local companies moving or going out of business. Many times they will donate desks, chairs, tables, office equipment to the school, so my expenditure is lower in that area and my district allocation of funds can be focused to more academic endeavors. The bottom line is that when soliciting for your school, the worst that can happen is that a company representative says "no."
Don Sternberg, Principal, Wantagh Elementary School, Wantagh, New York

Crafton Elementary has done a few things to counteract the effects of budget cuts. We have some wonderful community partners that have helped our school. For example, our local church is donating items to our STEAM Studio such as iPad covers and screen protectors. A revered community member also just made a huge donation to our school. Also, one of our second grade classes just wrote letters to a company about some of the things they have been learning about in STEAM. The company president contacted us and is donating a variety of materials to supplement instruction in that area.
Jacie Maslyk, Principal, Crafton Elementary School, Crafton, Pennsylvania

When facing budget cuts, we've found alternative funding for our school's programs through our school district's educational foundation. We work collaboratively on raising funds, promoting the foundation, and messaging to the community about the benefits of donating to the foundation. We invite them to our school events and send our teachers to speak about our school programs at their board meetings. We have a win-win relationship where we really try to support each other.
Kaivan Yuen, Principal, Jefferson Middle School, San Gabriel, California

Currently, our school is trying to raise money for a new flag pole by having a recycling trailer on our campus. We haul the recyclables to a metal recycling center where they pay us for scrap metal. We are making our trash turn into cash!
Patrick Boodey, Principal, Woodman Park School, Dover, New Hampshire


Where do you look for creative sources for funding? Leave a comment below.