Teachers turning online for help funding school projects

Jan 23, 2014 3:10 PM

With schools having to work with tighter budgets the last few years, many teachers have been forced to dig into their own pockets just to provide basic supplies to their students.

Laurie York, who teaches 4th grade at Wilson Elementary School in Gridley, knows the struggles that educators have been facing all too well.

"I've asked for very simple supplies before: glue sticks, electric pencil sharpeners, paper, pencils, erasers; all the basics. When I needed them we were truly running out of those things," she says.

That's been the case for many teachers; steep budget cuts leaving no room to purchase supplies for the classroom. But a website called donorschoose.org is lifting that burden for many educators across the country and here in the north state. Teachers simply submit a project, describe their need, and people who visit the site can make a donation to any project of their choosing.

Jim Hanlon, principal at Chico High School, says, "These are some of the biggest cuts in education that we've gone through in the past 4, 5, 6 years. To have a resource like donors choose where we can go and request things that we've taken for granted in the past, it's just been a boost in the classroom instructionally and for our kids."

The website started in 2000, but didn't really start having an impact in the north state until 2009. Since then, more than $125,000 has been raised for 200+ local projects in Butte and Glenn counties.

Laurie York has been using donors choose since 2008. She has been able to fund 54 projects, totaling upwards of $13,000 in donations.

"Geography books, multiplication sliders, multiplication flash cards, graphic novels, headphones, clipboards, a color printer, a document camera, I mean everything under the sun. The kids benefit from those things on a daily basis," she says.

Golden Apple Insurance stepped in a few years ago to start educating schools about donorschoose.org. They now have 45 different campuses using the site. Although the website has nearly 70 corporate sponsors that help match funds for projects, organizers here are hoping to get more help from local businesses.


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