Teachers go online to raise funds for supplies

Instructors at cash-strapped schools are tapping strangers to help give students the tools they need.

By Jonathan Berr Sep 4, 2013 3:46PM
School student sitting in his deskIf celebrities such as Zach Braff can tap the public to raise millions of dollars for their movies, why don't teachers use the same tools to buy supplies for their classrooms in cash-strapped cities such as Philadelphia?

Kindergarten teacher Allison Wudarski is doing just that. She has been raising money online from strangers to buy supplies for her students in Philadelphia's blue-collar Kensington section and has gotten a "ton" of supplies such as notebooks, crayons and writing papers, according to The Associated Press. She has successfully funded seven campaigns over the past few years ranging from $200 to more than $500.

Philadelphia teachers on the website DonorsChoose.org are requesting funds for everything from Amazon (AMZN) Kindles to bean-bag chairs to microscopes. The reason is simple: Teachers in Philadelphia and in many other districts are finding it increasingly difficult to fund the purchases out of their own pockets.

The Philadelphia School District is asking teachers to accept $103 million in concessions including wage cuts ranging from 5% to 13%. It faces a mammoth $304 million deficit.  Twenty percent of the staff has been laid off. City officials were forced to borrow $50 million in order for the district to have sufficient funds to open for the new school year next week.

Many teachers are facing the same predicament. Requests from teachers on DonorsChoose are up 30% from last year, according to CNBC, which also noted that a survey by insurance firm Horace Mann found that 53% of respondents had their classroom supplies budget cut. An additional 26% spent $400 of their own money on supplies last year, up 3 percentage points from 2011.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Sep 4, 2013 5:58PM
No mention in the story of "Who" is being laid off, You can bet the highly paid Administrators are safe in their jobs!! You never hear of them cutting from the top down Philadelphia is just one of many cities run in the ground by  the Democrats for the past 60 years. In My State schools are funded by property tax, then when you register your kids you pay again. Too many people paying NOTHING for their kids to go to public school including many illegal aliens who the Democrats love to hand out all kinds of "Freebies" while the rest of the taxpayers pick up the tab!!!!!
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