School budgets are always tight, public and private schools face the same issues with how to allocate money properly. Unlike public and private that see and experience the benefits of investing in health and wellness for employees, schools often see health and wellness investing in PE as a necessary evil. In a recent survey by Active Schools US, only 36% of schools have health and wellness on any important school document besides the basic wellness plan. Add that to the forecast of 50% of America will be obese per the CDC, and yet little is done at the source to change the problem.
The average annual budget for physical education is $764 per school. With class sizes much larger than classroom subjects, why are budgets substantially less? Typically one PE teacher sees every child in every grade at a school. Classroom teachers see only kids in a specific grade and sometimes not all students in that grade. What is a PE teacher supposed to do for a curriculum and equipment to handle all grade levels on $764 per year? The honest answer is most do very little because they receive minimal support and value in their jobs from school leaders.
Schools solve these budget shortfalls through a variety of fundraisers that go to a general fund. Depending on the biases of the principal and emergency type needs, physical education receives little to no direct money. STEM, computer labs, and maintenance receive the majority of funds. Unless a fundraiser specifies where the money goes to, the principal has complete control on how it is spent.
To my knowledge, no specific PE fundraisers are being done by companies in the United States. Yes, grants are available from corporations for schools that apply and/or qualify. Grants are not fundraisers. Both are needed by schools to function optimally. I have developed an idea to boost parental involvement with physical education and raise funds simultaneously. The concept is built on an Active Schools US concept, and my company has entitled it as Take Your Parent to PE Day.
The benefits of more physical activity and physical education are widely published, but not widely followed and known by parents. Getting new changes always start as grassroots efforts. Raising money for PE is no different. Educating parents about the importance physical activity and physical education have on test scores and grades can lead to a stronger emphasis on the two in school. Couple that with fun of exercising with your child and you have a winning combination!
Yes, the idea is new and innovative. The school receives an evidence-based PE program and for a small donation, each family receives a similar program to use at home. Parents have no idea what to do with kids besides put a screen in front of them for hours. What if that screen contained a program they can be physically active as a family with daily? Kill two birds with one proverbial stone! Stay on the screen and get movement that specifically stimulates all areas of the brain with age appropriate exercises. Win win!
For more information on Take Your Parent to PE Day, please email me at email@example.com. The event is free. Donations from parents are only $25 and half the money is given back to the school’s physical education department, not the general fund. I guarantee $400 can be raised or I’ll take the PE teacher or principal to lunch! Everyone benefits and has a great time in the process.