From Trash to Treasure

By Charles K. Trainor

Public schools struggle continuously to save educational programs from budgetary cuts. Managing both sides of the balance sheet is challenging. On the revenue side, budgets are buffeted by reduced state aid, unfunded mandates, and taxpayer fatigue. To compensate, districts draw down reserves, charge fees for participation in sports, and create education foundations to fund extras.

On the expense side, ever-increasing salaries, medical insurance premiums, and pension costs exert ongoing pressure. In response, districts scale back benefits, leave positions vacant, and impose unpaid furloughs.

An often-overlooked opportunity can benefit both sides of the balance sheet, increasing revenue while reducing expenses. While not the ultimate solution to budgetary woes, it can ease financial burdens and contribute other benefits as well.

What is this opportunity? Recycling. A comprehensive conservation program in your district can convert your trash to cash, which can help to educate your students and protect the environment.

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