K-12 Schools Relying More Than Ever on Grassroots Funds

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Organize.

K-12 sales teams spend a lot of time working to engage school and district leaders. But what role are parents and teachers playing in the purchase decisions?

Grassroots purchases are becoming more common in schools around the US. Amidst budget shortfalls, local and state leaders are struggling to fund all of their education needs, and they’re increasingly relying on local communities for help. From parent groups to teachers in the trenches to educational business partners, many stakeholders are chipping in to make sure students have the resources they need in school—and potentially swaying K-12 purchasing decisions.

Parent/Teacher Groups Now Focused on More Than Small-Budget Items

Imagine you’re the parent of a third-grader. Your child has limited experience on computers, with a modest 20 minutes per week in the school computer lab. At Back-to-School night, you listen attentively as the teacher explains the push for a more rigorous curriculum. Then, the teacher mentions that your 8-year-old will be required to type responses as part of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) writing assessment in the spring—yes, the same 8-year-old who slowly hunts and pecks on the keyboard to type his own name. You glance around the room and recognize your own panic in the other parents’ faces. So what do you do?

Many parents are opting to mobilize their PTOs and local PTAs. These organizations are raising funds, researching reputable products and services, and in some cases even selecting what to purchase for their kids’ schools. In recent years, for example, the PTOs of Brazosport Independent School District in Texas have funded, “a new elementary school track, 20 computers with wireless Internet, a computer lab, an outdoor pavilion for physical education classes, maps, an atomic clock, and library books for the middle school.

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