March 27, 2018

In the world of education, particularly special education, financial resources can range from overflowing to non-existent. Sarah and I happen to live and work in a state that is on the latter end of that spectrum. For the third consecutive year, Arizona is among the worst states in the nation overall for education. In fact, in the area of per pupil spending alone, Arizona is ranked 50th. (Fun fact: there are only 50 states in United States…)

With that being said, education professionals in our state are resourceful. Teachers and related education professionals (SLPs, OTs, PTs) are all doing great work despite limited funding. However, the overall state of education in our state really skewed our perspective when it came to thinking about who should pay for the resources we need in order to do our job as school-based speech-language pathologists. We expected to pay for things ourselves, and we assumed that if we asked our school district to chip in for something, the answer would be no. So often times, we wouldn’t even ask.

However, after working for several years as the lead SLP in the largest school district in Arizona, I learned that this is not necessarily the case. Even when there is “no money”, that doesn’t mean zero money. There are multiple funding sources that I hadn’t even heard of: Title I, Title II, Title III, capital monies, grants, Medicaid funds, and parent/booster money to name a few).

What it does mean is that if you ask for something, you must be prepared to share (1) what it is you’re requesting; (2) how it will benefit students; and (3) how you plan to implement it. In other words, you can’t just go in saying “I want this” (step 1) and be disappointed by receiving an immediate no. It’s all about how you ask (step 1, 2 AND 3). And this really should be the case no matter how well your district is funded.

With that in mind, we have created some resources to help you with some wording when trying to secure funding for your SLP Toolkit subscription. Sarah and I always say, “We don’t want you to pay for it either!”

  1. If going through your PTO or principal at the school level, an informational flyer and purchase request letter are a great place to start.
  2. If going through your SPED department at the district level, I would direct them to our website, which has a page dedicated to how SLP Toolkit benefits districts as a whole, as well as share this district packet. Here is a sample letter you can use when approaching your district with this request.
  3. If seeking funding through something like “Donor’s Choose”, use this sample outline to assist you with wording as you create your project.

No matter which route you go, if you find they have questions that you can’t answer, please let us know as we would love to advocate on your behalf. Keep us posted on how it goes!

Have you already received funding for your subscription? Share in the comments below some tips and tricks that worked for you/the SLPs in your district!