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  1. I teach at a nonprofit community center. My program is small. I never thought i would have to justify costs since i am given no budget, if i can't get it donated then we don't have it. I've done well getting one retiring potter's whole studio donated and another retiring potter's glazes and chemicals donated to my program to keep us afloat in the 8 years i've taught here. My students pay for their class and are assessed a fee for kiln use of $10 per student. They buy their own clay that i pick up from the local clay dude and buy their own hand tools that i put a group order in at the beginning of the semester. I'm only paid for teaching time, not prep time, not clean up time, and not firing time. I fire 4 times during our 8 week semester starting at week 4 and once a week there after. All was well for the first 5 years of teaching but the last three years has seen a change of administration multiple times and i find myself having to defend my costs...what costs you might ask? The cost of electricity to fire our donated kilns. 4 admins ago i came up with the $10 fee per student for electricity based on research that on average a large kiln fired to cone 6 cost $8-$10 to fire. That would mean each student could be paying for one firing so with a minimum of 4 students the 4 firings are cover (tho not all those 4 firings are to cone 6 nor in the largest kiln). With more than 4 students i figured the rest of the money would cover wear and tear on the kilns and eventual maintainance. 2 admins ago i was questioned why i fired so often. 4 firing a semester does not seem often...that is 2 bisque and 2 glaze firings...for a semester. I pointed out that it was not excessive because the students needed to recieve their work back in a timely fashion so they could learn from their mistakes and try again. At the time i had 9 students and also pointed out that i only fired 4 times and the students had paid for 9 firings. It seemed to satisfy the admin. Now yet again my firing is again in question. A new admin and a custodian trying to show his worth by cutting costs. He informed my boss that a firing costs hundreds of dollars and the mere $10 fee could no way cover the costs of firing. I went to skutt's website found the costs they averaged out for firing their largest kiln and showed them the estimate of $8.45 per firing to cone 6. The current admin seems to doubt these numbers...i suggested metering the kiln if they had doubts. Then i hear the same custodian is now asking why the air condition is running while the kiln is running. I point out the ac cools two classrooms the pottery room and the dance studio, the dance classes pump the ac down cause they get hot, the pottery room is also a multiuse room and can likely also have some other class meeting in it while the kiln is firing and lastly i point out it doesn't matter if the ac is running when the kiln is running cause the kiln is in the separate enclosed kiln room that is not air conditioned at all and is vented with a giant exhaust fan in the ceiling to pump the heat and fumes to the great outdoors. Is there resource online that talks about the average costs of running a pottery class? Someplace that might in layman's terms explain the needs of an average class? I want to show them what good job i am doing keeping this program going with no budget. My competition across town has a dedicated pottery studio built from grant money, buckets of glaze, supplies clay to their students, and fires multiple time during the week. My program is continually compared to them by both my admin and students but they are funded and mine is not. Any suggestions?
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