The school I graduated from, and where I now work full-time, recently cut their analog photography class. It was a tough choice, but with declining funding and declining enrollment, we had to make staff reductions. We couldn't cut core classes, so we had to cut some electives. Our photo teacher is still employed by the district, but now has other duties, so he no longer is able to teach photography.

Still, we have great facilities, just remodeled in 2003. We also have no shortage of equipment. People keep giving us cameras, enlargers, and accessories, so even when stuff breaks, we have plenty of equipment. We literally have a pile of enlargers in the darkroom! Most of them are cheap, simple units; but for student use, they do the job. Since I work at the school and don't have a place at home to set up a darkroom, I use the school darkroom. I actually feel good about using the school darkroom, because otherwise, there wouldn't be anyone to look after it. At least if a student does want to use it and knows how, they still have access to a clean darkroom, functional equipment, and sometimes even fresh chemicals. And if a student wanted to use it that needed help, I'd be more than happy to get them started.

If schools need equipment, they shouldn't have any trouble finding affordable equipment. I'm sure there are people in the community (or even folks here at APUG) that could help a school find equipment or cameras. If someone from the school (or even a parent or student) spent some time watching garage sales, resale shops, and the Internet, they should be able to find equipment. That's how I keep our old telephone system going! I just keep buying parts on eBay. If the school district is serious about keeping programs alive while saving money at the same time, they will find a way to make it happen. I've been buying enough on eBay for the school that the school district finally set up their own eBay account.