Saturday, December 3, 2011

Saving Money on Field Trips

On November 17th, prior to the Thanksgiving break and my academic drama, I went with Mr. Agajan and the 3rd graders to the Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS). There were a lot of issues prior to actually going on the trip. All of the issues pertained to getting to the LHS. The reason why there were issues with getting to the LHS is because either not many parents were volunteering or the parents that were volunteering were putting conditions on their offer of transportation.

At first, I think Mr. Agajan had about 3 out of 22 parents that were volunteering transportation. This enabled about half the class to go to the LHS. An additional parent that was offering a ride could take students to the LHS, but she would leave with her child early. I'm can't remember why. In the end, Mr. Agajan was able to get enough parents to volunteer because one of the students' parents was very proactive in sending emails to all of the parents and letting them know about the consequence of not having enough volunteer drivers (i.e. not going to the LHS).

In the middle of these issues, I was wondering why they didn't just call for a school bus. It is either because they did not have the budget for it or they're trying to save money by not calling for the bus. I doubt that it's the former since Chabot Elementary's API was pretty high last year (i.e. somewhere in the 980s I believe. If not, at least in the 900s). I presume that they receive federal education grants for achieving a high API score.

Either way, the school saves money by having the parents volunteer to be drivers. I'm not a school accountant, but I'm guessing that when a school pays for a school bus, they're paying for the gas, mileage, bus driver, the bus itself, and insurance. Whereas, when the parents volunteer to be a driver, they are covering all of those costs. So financially, I can imagine how volunteer drivers would be appealing. But then, the risk that the field trip will be cancelled becomes possible. Whereas, I presume that that possibility is much less likely when a bus and driver is paid for.

Hmmm... is the risk worth it? It's hard for me to say since I have no context such as the school's total budget, all of its allocations, and the cost of a bus and driver.

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