Question: How much should we spend on teacher appreciation?

The teachers and staff at our K-5 school are incredible, and they deserve every bit of recognition we can heap upon them.

Our hospitality chairperson is currently making plans for teacher and staff appreciation during national Teacher Appreciation Week in May. She is pushing for small gifts every day and a catered luncheon that Friday. The total cost will be about $1,000. Some of us feel this is an inappropriate use of funds, that it’s too large an amount for something that doesn’t directly benefit the students. Others think it’s OK since we have the funds available.

We all agree the teachers are wonderful, but what is the right answer?

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Advice from PTO Today

Elly writes:

Where to draw the line on teacher appreciation budget is a common concern. It’s natural to want to honor and recognize the school staff, but that’s not to say the sky’s the limit on spending.

How much is too much? That answer depends on several factors, particularly how large your total budget is. In a $50,000 budget, $1,000 may not be too much. For a group that only has $10,000 a year for all programs, $1,000 is quite a lot. Regardless, if some of your members are uncomfortable with the amount proposed, that’s a sign to rethink the plan.

Suggest a compromise where staff and teacher appreciation is still a high priority, but fewer dollars are spent. Many groups host a breakfast or lunch with food donated by families. Or perhaps you could still have it catered, but choose a less expensive menu.

The daily gifts during appreciation week are lots of fun, and token items can be selected that convey your admiration without breaking the bank. Teachers particularly like personal items, such as thank-you notes from the students, and items that can be used in the classroom.

You are at a great starting place, because both sides want the same outcome; it’s just how to make it happen that needs to be resolved. PTO leaders are known for rising to the challenge with creative solutions.

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