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Volunteers in Beaumont Schools Now Pay $64

We need to work to encourage more parents to get involved, not discourage the ones who alreaady are.

The Beaumont Unified School Board authorized the district this year to begin charging parents and other community members $49 to be fingerprinted and $15 for TB testing before they can volunteer in the classroom or at many PTA events. This will save the district about $40,000 a year (0.09% of the annual budget) and it will result in far fewer volunteers.

The volunteers in Beaumont have helped to fill the holes created by budget cuts over the last few years and are a big reason our schools continue to perform well on the STAR tests. $64 a year, $128 for two parents, may not seem like a lot to some but for many, it is enough to discourage them from volunteering to go on a field trip or help out at a PTA event or two. Many of the district’s current volunteers are stay-at-home parents from families trying to make it on a single income.

I don’t believe this is sending the right message to parents who have helped reduce the burden of larger class sizes and fewer paid support staff, conditions other budget cuts by the district have created. I believe it's saying "we don't appreciate your support and we can do without you".

Following are comments from our board members I wrote about on April 26th: 

  • De Longchamp – “I’m fine with that.” 
  • Lara – “I can’t see making parents pay so they can volunteer in the classroom.”
  • Hackney – “I wouldn’t think, myself, that it would be worth it to pay $52 to go on one field trip” 
  • Hackney – “I can’t see…to expect volunteers to volunteer all those hours then to have to pay for it” 
  • De Longchamp – “I know the kids sporting things in town…(volunteers) have to pay for their own background checks” 
  • De Longchamp – “I did it for them to play sports and I would have done it to volunteer in the classroom.”
  • Orozco – “Parents have to pay for it for baseball” 

 

I give Mrs. Lara and Mr. Hackney credit for their comments but actions speak louder than words. When it came time to vote for the budget cuts recommended by the administration, they both supported charging volunteers.

Mr. Orozco and Mrs. De Longchamp justified charging volunteers by arguing that parents already pay for this through community sports teams. I think it would have shown more leadership for Mr. Orozco or Mrs. De Longchamp to work with the city and the community sports teams to design a system where parents already paying for background checks through other programs could use those background checks for the schools and vice a versa. Who knows? That might even increase parent involvement in the schools which is what I think should be the goal.

I personally believe the district should be willing to pay $64 a year for every parent willing to volunteer at their kids' schools no matter how many volunteer. We need to work to encourage more parents to get involved, not discourage the ones who alreaady are.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

James McDonald September 13, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Mr. White, I just got word, that you are seeking the endorsement of the Beaumont Teachers Association. Is it true? With this endorsement comes money I assume, which you claimed on the patch you would not seek or accept. Just as I suspected!
James McDonald September 13, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Sheri Davis...I take offense to your silly comments. Beaumont Unified is made up of wonderful students, and teachers. This community has a lot to be proud about in its schools and the quality of education it provides to our students. We have a lot to celebrate in our district...you seem to be just a hatter with Dr. Kayrell and thats okay! But don't bring down our district, and please watch what you say because you give Beaumont a bad name, and to top it off, you look bad!
Lloyd White September 13, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Mr. McDonald, Good to hear from you again. What is "Just as (you) suspected?". I know you follow my blog closely, but just in case you chose not to remember, I wrote the following in April: "I will not be accepting any financial support and will be spending very little of my own money, only what I am already spending to maintain my website, about $12 a month. I won't be actively seeking endorsements from any groups or individuals and I won't embrace any that come with conditions or expectations." I did not seek the BTA's endorsement, they invited me for an interview. I think it is important for a board member's success, they need the support of the teachers, why would I refuse their invitation and an opportunity to explain my positions. If they decide to endorse me, I won't accept any financial support and they will be supporting me knowing there are no conditions. I am spending more of my own money than I expected but I still have not, and won't, accept financial support from anybody else. In case you are interested, I have spent just over a hundred dollars for some business cards and about $50 (so far) on neighbor canvassing lists - who knows, I may be knocking on your door soon. I may need more cards, more lists and I may buy some yard signs. if you are interested in my financing again, just ask. Thank you for your continued interest. For more information on my campaign, check out my campaign website - www.LloydWhite4SchoolBoard.com ($10 a month)
Mariana Zuelsdorf September 13, 2012 at 07:25 AM
One should never 'assume' before checking the facts, Mr McDonald. Just as I suspected
Maria September 15, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I was also fortunate to stay at home with my kids and volunteer when their teachers needed me in the classroom. There were always a certain group of parents that were literally there daily. I did alot of take home work for my teachers as often as they needed! and when i was able to go to class it was mostly during the busy holidays.. when kids were having parties, programs and getting ready for vacation. Now that they require a fee to become a volunteer, unfortunately i will not be able to help out IN CLASS with my kids. Which is fine, but i really did enjoy my time being spent with my kids and thier classmates. Im pretty sure i wont be the only parent that wont be able to afford to pay the fee! Sad!

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