How to Survive Budget Cuts
by Joyce E. Pennington

There is a common thread running throughout schools around the country--”budgets will be cut this year and your program will have to do without most of its’ requests.” Directors and advisors from all pep arts fields are struggling to regroup their teams’ equipment needs as well as trying to maintain team morale and motivation. 

In searching for solutions, we can assume that your team may not win $10 million from Publishers Clearing House nor a small fortune from an anonymous donor, the direction must be ‘how to make a little go a LONGER way.’ Here are some ideas that might help you to survive that ‘dry spell’ coming your way with budget cuts:

Practice Outfits: If your team is accustomed to having several practice outfits, maybe you could get by this year with purchasing one outfit to wear on Monday, all black on Tuesday, bright colors on Wednesday, team T-shirt and shorts or sweats on Thursday (when you go out with the band) and pep rally outfit on Friday.

Uniforms: Maybe you had ordered new uniforms and the budget did away with the idea. Perhaps you could five old uniforms a new look by having the Moms make a new sequined overlay. Many times you can make a fabric overlay with sequined trim for under $10 each and everyone will think you have a brand new outfit!

Props/Choreography: You may have had several new props in mind for your performance season this year. If budget monies are not available, perhaps work a trade out with a school in a nearby district to offer the use of your props in trade for theirs that your audience has not seen. You may even offer to trade out choreography with the neighboring team, too.

Articles on Organization

Your Student Teacher
Surviving Budget Cuts
Big Sis/Lil' Sis
Block Scheduling
When a Member Quits
Spring Show Mania
Delegating Duties
Drill Team Constitutions
Saving Sense: Deductions
Director Organization 
Director Etiquette
Drill Team as a Business
Importance of Discipline
Jots from Joyce
Team Training Needs
Music/Band Coordination

Sound Equipment: A performance team can definitely not function without a sound system, however, if you have to make equipment cuts, perhaps you could approach another organization such as the band, choir or student council that might be willing to share sound equipment for the coming year until each of you can include it in future budgets. The main point would be insuring the proper care and maintenance so that it will always be in working order when either group is ready to use it.

Successful Fund-raisers: If you are planning to have special fund-raising projects to help compensate for lost budget funds, make sure that your time and return are efficient and effective. It is very frustrating to plan a car wash or bake sale that meets with poor weather and brings in less that $100 (I think we have all had this happen at least once!). Make sure the product or service has not been overused or over saturated in your school and community. Make sure that it is appealing and would be something that the community could genuinely find useful instead of buying just to be gracious. A well planned fund-raiser can become an annual successful event for your team if it is well thought out and supported by both your students and their parents. Remember, if you are not receiving a profit return the equivalent of minimum wage for each and every person involved, you are not seeing a successful fund-raiser. 

Hopefully your budget cuts will be only a temporary situation at your school and that next year will paint a brighter picture. In the meantime, never let your team know that they or you are in a hopeless situation without your budget money. Team morale and enthusiasm can sometimes make up for other losses.


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