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Orientation Snafu! (Worst feeling ever)



New Member
Ok, I need to vent about a few things.

This morning before we had our nine o'clock to one o'clock Orientation day, the 5th grade teachers had a meeting with the principal.

He insisted that we must now ask the parents for a donation of $10 each time kids go on field trips. Mrs."Bee" (the administration bookkeeper)whipped up a memo stating that should a child go on a field trip, we must get the ten dollars from the parents/guardian no matter what. I voiced my concerns of this as well as other co-workers. The principal just basically shrugged his shoulders and left the room, giving the floor the Bookkeeper to answer our burning questions.

The reason: The school district will not allow fundraising to happen this school year.

I reminded my self to keep calm and just enjoy seeing my new students. I took a memo and printed out copies for my kids's parents to sign (per the principal mandated request that the parents agree to pay for their child's field trip costs).

Since I teach at a low-income based school, I found this to be offensive to those who are unable to pay for things the school should be able to cover. Field trips is one of those things in my opinion.

So around ten thirty, I had already met 12 students and still had to meet the triplets and some other kids. A mother and her child asked me if this was Mr. "W-S" class (my last name) and I confirmed. The student found her desk and was happy and all of a sudden things changed...

The mother picked up the paper on her child's desk and started to read the new field trip clause. She immediately approached me and asked me why her child must pay ten dollars each time she goes on a field trip. I simply told her that Administration has more information to share and please visit our Principal for it. I could tell that she was frustrated. She left her daughter in the classroom and went into the hallway where my boss was located.

She basically gave him a earful and shouted out to her child to get out my classroom and told my boss that her child deserves better.

I had lost a student.

Now, I have the lowest number of students (17) in my class and I'm scrambling to make things better for my remaining students.

How should I approach this matter about the field trip issue? Should we just cancel all but two field trips and have one for the fall and the other trip for the spring? Help me.


Senior Member
At my old school

each grade level only takes two field trips. One is mainly educational and is totally covered by the school. Everyone goes, even behaviorally challenged students.

The other is considered optional and is generally more fun. Parents are required to pay a portion and are also allowed to opt out. Students can also be held out for behavior issues or excessive unexcused absences. If parents approach the teacher or staff and claim hardship, there are generally "scholarships," aka PTO monies, available. It is usually up to the parent to make the first move though.


Full Member

I grew up in a town with four schools total, and I went to the "poor" school. If field trips weren't free, we had to pay. I was a bit surprised when I started teaching and realized they were mostly taken care of.

This past year, one of our usually free field trips ended up not being free any more, and parents had to pay. Honestly, I heard more of an uproar from the teachers than the families, and we had many families how had older siblings who had been on this field trip for free. Every single child was able to pay for it, and it was more than $10.

How many field trips do you go on? We have a lot of lower income students at my school and honestly, I don't think the field trip I talked about is the most amazing thing ever. Yes, the kids have fun, but it's more a free for all and in reality, we could use organizations within walking distance from our school and hit the same concepts for FREE.

Could you do that with some of your field trips that would now cost money?


Senior Member
At My School...

At my school, the PTO gives each classroom $8 per student for field trips. After that, parents pay. If they cannot pay, they notify the teacher, and the money is either provided by the teacher or the principal takes money from the soda machine fund.

$8 does not cover much...field trips usually run about $12 to $20 per trip and we are only allowed to take two trips out-of-town per year. All trips must be curriculum based for all grade levels.

Because our community just built a new fine arts center, the drama department applied for grants to have field trips brought to us...grant pays for bus transportation to the center. This has included an opera group for third graders, the middle school play (dress rehearsal) for fourth graders, and the high school holiday concert (dress rehearsal) for second graders.

The zoo brings a program to our school for the kindergarteners, and a lady who rehabs birds brings a program to our school for the first grade.

Check around your community. If you have a zoo, orchestra, band, etc. in the area, there may be grants available to bring them to your school.

Mrs. G

Senior Member

In our district the students pay the entire cost of the field trip. We are only allowed to take two per year. If a child can not pay our PFA will cover the cost. I never knew there were schools that covered field trip expenses.


Senior Member
would it be considered "fund raising" if you added a clause at the bottom of your sheet that says, donations are accepted to make sure all children can attend" or "we plan on three field trips this year...you can pay in installments to make it easier.


Full Member
I guess we're lucky

Our elementary classes take 1-2 field trips, depending on the cost. The 5th grade always goes to Gettysburg so we only have one trip for the year. The school activity fund pays the museum and tour guide fees and our PTO pays for the charter busses. (I LOVE our PTO!! Two and a half hours on a school bus was not fun!)

Perhaps you could talk to a local church and ask about donations/sponsors to help with the cost for kids who can't seem to find the money.


Senior Member
To tell you the truth, before Pt I had never heard of a school paying for your field trip. I always had to pay for mine. My parents never questioned it. Most of the time it was cheaper than $10 though. So do your kids have to pay $10 even if it is cheaper than that? If so, I would have a problem with that. I understand the issue with students that can't afford it. At my last school we had a couple that couldn't pay. The school paid for them. Other than that, everyone else paid.

Good luck dealing with this new rule.


Senior Member
We have generally had bus money to cover two trips, and any cost for the activity is covered by students. We have done some where we had to ask for more money to help cover a bus that cost extra due to time or distance.

However, if asking for money is an issue, don't do field trips. Do field days at the school. Arrange demonstrations from places at the school. Field trips, in my opinion, really don't add that much to a child's education. Sure they are fun for kids, but they aren't a necessity.


Senior Member
I'm confused how moving out of your room is helpful since all the teachers have to give out the same memo.


Senior Member
We ask for a "donation" to cover all class trips. The "donation" is a direct correlation to the expenses in the trip. I would be upset about a flat donation/request that exceeded the cost of the trip. PTA will cover the children who can not afford to pay.