The $5.4 Billion Bake Sale

Scheduled Events: Austin (5/16 at 12:30; 11th ST. in front of State Capitol), San Antonio (5/18 at 10 am, Main Plaza in Downtown SA), Houston (5/19 at 10 am, Elsik 9th Grade Center) and Ft. Worth (5/26 at 2 pm, Tarrant County Courthouse). More to come! Contact for more information.  Click here for other STS Days of Action Activities!

Click here for video of the Austin “$5.4 Billion Bake Sale.”

Click here for news coverage of Austin Bake Sale.

“We can’t afford a half-baked approach to education!”

How many cupcakes does it take to close the state’s structural deficit?

As part of our “Days of Action” around the state starting on May 8, Save Texas Schools will hold “Billion Dollar Bake Sales” in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and other cities across Texas. The goal is to educate the public about the ongoing effects of the state’s structural deficit on school funding cuts and encourage voters to support pro-education candidates in the May 29th state primaries.

While the bake sales provide a humorous angle, the education cuts could hardly be more serious. In 2011, the Texas Legislature slashed $5.4 billion from public education, forcing crowded classrooms, shuttered schools and over ten thousand classroom teachers laid off statewide. Dallas alone will close 11 schools this fall and other districts are considering charging students up to $100 per semester to ride school buses or participate in extracurricular activities. Tiny Premont ISD did the unthinkable for Texas, canceling its football program to save costs.

State education cuts are no laughing matter to Texas families and our point is you can’t make this up with bake sales. At 50 cents apiece, we’d have to sell almost 11 billion cupcakes just to cover last session’s cuts – if the next legislature can’t find the political will to fix the structural deficit they created in 2006, we can expect another $5 billion  (or 10 billion cupcakes) more in school cuts for 2013

Where does one hold a bake sale big enough to fill these cuts?

We did the math using 3-inch cupcakes and realized we’d need more than 676 million square-feet of table space. That’s over 4800 Astrodomes put together, so we’re going to have to up the price on our cupcakes.  Those who can’t afford a billion dollar dessert can get a copy of Save Texas Schools “Building Support for Public Education” (Click here to download a pdf copy).

How to Host Your Own Billion-Dollar Bake Sale!

1. Contact your local media in advance. Save Texas Schools will promote the bake sales through our statewide media list, but local contacts will be most effective.

2. Consider holding your bake sale outside your state senator or representative’s district office.  This will get more attention than if you do it at a school. If your senator or rep is already pro-education, invite him or her to participate. Wherever you do it, make sure you stay on the public right of way, which is typically the first few feet of the sidewalk starting at the curb. Be sure to leave room for pedestrians to pass. Do not block a public street or building entrance.

3. Have fact sheets available for media about the serious effects of school budget cuts. Remember, this is a fun way to focus attention, but the school budget cuts are no laughing matter. You can download fact sheets from this website.

4. Make it regional. Try to have at least one parent or teacher from every school or every district in your area. Invite friends!

5. Have one or two designated speakers for the media.  You may want to have one or both give an actual speech at the start of the bake sale explaining the budget cuts and why you’re doing this. If your senator or rep is participating, they should definitely be asked to say a few words.

6. Make your signs and props in advance. The bake sale should be as visually fun as you can make it.  You might want to have a sign/prop making party your core group of volunteers.  Some suggestions to get you started…

Dress:  Wear chef’s hats, aprons, oven mitts.

Props: You’ll need some baked goods to sell, the bigger and more colorful the better. They should all have big price tags, clearly printed and mounted on sticks so the cameras can catch them. Amounts should add up to $5.4 billion.

• 54 cupcakes (4-1/2 dozen) with signs on toothpicks that say $100 Million each.

• 6 cupcakes – five with $ 1 Billion signs with the sixth one a “bargain” cupcake at only $.4 Billion

• One really huge cupcake with a $5.4 billion sign in it

Signs:  Hand lettered signs are great. A few ideas: “Billion Dollar Bake Sale Today!”  “Texas can’t afford another half-baked legislature!” “’ Let them eat cake’ is not an education policy”

Contact Save Texas Schools at if you want to host a “Billion Dollar Bake Sale.” Let’s make sure that people know the true cost of not educating the next generation adequately!


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