With school districts statewide strapped for cash, classrooms are feeling the effects.
Some teachers say they spend well over a thousand dollars out of pocket each school year on classroom supplies. They don't do it for themselves, they say, it's all for their students.
The classroom is where the foundation of our future is built.
“It's not just teaching them math...” Cleveland Middle School teacher Karin Brisbin said. “It's teaching them how to be good people.”
But before the students in Cleveland come back from summer break to fill these empty desks, teachers have a lot of work to do to get ready.
They have classrooms to decorate...
“I want them to want to spend time in here,” CMS teacher Suzanne Stowe said.
And they have supplies to buy.
“It's sad because our students need things... craft and art supplies, they need things to make amazing book projects,” Stowe said.
In the past, the school district could afford to help teachers with some of the extra supplies, but because of state budget cuts, those days are gone.
Meaning teachers who don't make much to begin with have to pay for classroom supplies on their own.
“I don't make $2,000 month,” Stowe said.
But still, most teachers find a way to provide.
“We do it because, not because we have to, but we want to,” Brisbin said. “We see the need.”
To help ease the financial burden, the two sixth teachers founded Cleveland Partners in Education in the spring. The money raised through the foundation goes directly back into classrooms campus-wide.
That mission, which hopefully will grow to help bigger projects, already is funding simple, essential things. They are supplies most people don’t think about until they aren’t available.
“We need construction paper,” Stowe said. “We need new markers.”
The most recent fundraiser gives the community a chance to pay $100 to adopt a classroom -- an initiative that is helping teachers continue to shape the future.
“This is our future,” Stowe said. “Our kids are our future.”
There are 130 classrooms up for adoption in the small-town district. The community adopted more than 12 classrooms in less than 24 hours of the initiative kicking off.
Local individuals and service clubs have answered the call and interest still is brewing. Some of the donations have been made in memory of specific Cleveland teachers or to support a current teacher.
CHS alumni are jumping in with a little healthy competition for the good cause – by giving back to their alma mater and the place that shaped their lives.
To start things off, the CHS Class of 1995 adopted three classrooms and issued a challenge to other alumni to do the same.
“I've never seen this much community backing to a school, ever,” Stowe said. “I've never see that. I love this small town,” Stowe said.
To participate in the Adopt-a-Classroom fundraiser, which is tax deductible, you can click here to find information on how to donate.