Funding for school operating budgets is tighter than ever. While administrators and educators desperately explore new ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of our children’s education, many are running out of ideas.

Where to Cut Corners?
The top four budget items in most schools are (1) salaries & benefits, (2) facilities maintenance, (3) textbooks & instructional materials, and (4) copying & printing supplies. So how can we improve efficiencies to get ‘more for less?’ Certainly, most administrators consider these top three items as last-resort untouchables, as they should. The best option here for our children is not fewer teachers with lower pay, neglect/closure of facilities, or reduced quality/quantity of instructional materials.

What about reducing the quantity of copying and printing? Take a look at these comments posted to an online teachers’ forum and see if you think this is a fair solution:
• “I was none too thrilled to receive a memo yesterday in my mailbox showing that my year's copying budget is almost depleted and it's not even October! I have no idea what I'm going to do. …I'm just wondering how other teachers are feeling the budget crunch right about now.”
• “What really makes this bad is that the money for the supplies for our classrooms comes from our own pockets.”
• “As a class mom for the past six years, I've constantly heard of the same problem. I know I'd rather help out with getting some copies made for the children rather than see their education suffer…I think it is completely unfair that teachers should have to pull everything out of their own pockets.”

Breaking Through The Clutter With Color
Placing aggressive restrictions on teachers’ supplies usage is not only unpopular, it doesn’t help the students either. What does help is communicating to students in a way that helps them retain the information. One proven method: print instructional materials in color. Most people know that the use of color is highly effective in tapping into human emotion and memory and in the improvement of the learning process. Numerous studies by Loyola University and others have revealed that messages printed in color are 78% more likely to be remembered and that comprehension of facts improves by up to 73% when presented to the reader in color.

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