Yesterday I received an email from my daughter’s middle school.

Let me start off by saying that we live in a large school district that has an equally as large budget. Last year we received a note of panic that said, due to the State’s lack of funding, they may need to cut some programs. The program they chose to target was the middle school level music program. Of course, the parents were in an uproar, as our music program in the district has won Grammy Awards. After much debate and the loss of several music program teachers, the program is pretty much the same. However, the parents of music program students pay a yearly fee of just over $100.00.

Now, I SORT OF, get it. Although I think we have plenty of money in the district to cover this, I understand that not every kid participates in the music program. The athletes have fees (which have gone up this year), so fair is fair – I guess. It is sort of taxing on the parents (pun intended), especially in this economy, to have to pay all these extra fees.

Back to the letter. It seems that my daughter’s middle school is “in the process of enhancing their curriculum by incorporating a fitness center to continue to improve the students’ fitness levels”. They want donations from the parents in order for this to happen. I am assuming that they are using the building space they have, but they want donations of fitness equipment, including, but not limited to, free weights, kettle weights, Bosu balls, medicine balls, elliptical machines, treadmills and stationary bikes. There are requirements for these donated items – they need to be less than 5 years old and in good working condition.

Wait a minute. Isn’t this the same district that didn’t have enough money for its CURRENT programs?

Do they realize how ridiculous they sound? Imagine if (God forbid) my household had to take a pay cut. In our anger, we told all our friends and family, hoping for sympathy in our situation. Let’s say the friends and family that frequent the house were charged an entertainment fee to hang out with us. (I have to say, we throw some fun parties!) However, with this fee, they don’t notice any difference in our parties. Now, less than six months later, we decide, with our limited budget, that we are going to upgrade our kitchen. Our friends and family would benefit from this new kitchen, too.

Imagine if I sent out an email to everyone that has stopped by our house in the last year. Imagine that I told them that we were planning on upgrading our kitchen, and we are looking for donations to do so. We need stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, cabinets and sink. Of course, all of these items would have to be less than 5 years old and in working condition.

How many donations do you think we would get?

Why doesn’t the school realize that if it is not in the budget, you can’t do it? I wanted to upgrade my kitchen for the past few years. The “extra” money we had in our budget went to silly things like braces for two kids, a water heater, a sub pump, replacing my seven year old car, etc.

The kitchen upgrade will happen. We have saved money by cutting things here and there. We will probably forgo our summer vacation.

Am I wrong in expecting the school to do the same thing?