Tough economic times force schools and school districts to make budget cuts that negatively impact the quality of student education. Public school systems finance every aspect of education in the districts, including administrative salaries, teacher and staff salaries and building maintenance and construction. Even though districts focus on providing the best possible education for students, any budget cuts affect students and teachers directly and indirectly.
When budget cuts result in limited educational funding, teachers and support staff take the hardest hit. Less available money means larger class sizes and fewer teachers. Staff cuts may mean cutting extra curriculum programs, such as art and music so that to provide more money for core courses, such as math and reading. Less money for supplies means using outdated textbooks, which forces educators to supplement with other resources. The National School Supply and Equipment Association reported in 2010 that many educators spend approximately $356 a year of their own money for supplies.
Research shows that class size makes a huge difference in the quality of education for students for several reasons. Forcing educators to teach large classes increases the possibility of disruptions and decreases the ability of an educator to help struggling students. The current trend of using cooperative learning groups becomes hard to manage in large classes.
Funding issues prevent districts from hiring more educators and many are providing less professional development opportunities. Unfortunately, these programs, which help keep educators abreast of new teaching methods and techniques, suffer from limited funds. As a result, students suffer too.
Educators and students lose when a district institutes a school funds cut. Some districts seek alternative funding methods to help offset deficits. They encourage staff members to search for grants from private foundations to help them continue some programs facing elimination due to a school funds cut. Some creative educators organize fundraising efforts to help supplement limited funds. They find that students enjoy participating in fundraising campaigns. These campaigns help teach basic math concepts in a real-life way.
The teaching profession sees about 20 percent of its members leave the profession in good economic times, but a massive exodus takes place when salaries are cut. Even the most dedicated lose the incentive to continue with reduced benefits. This result in less pay in the long run, and many educators are forced to take a second job to meet family expenses. Budget decreases affect the entire educational community.