Chalkboard Champions helping local teachers pay for classroom supplies

Chalkboard Champions

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - After teaching for more than 30 years, Linda Boone has noticed that it’s getting harder for students to get a hold of basic supplies.

“I don’t know if it’s a matter of opportunity or finances or procrastination, but more and more students in my class were needing simple things like paper, pens or pencils,” said Boone.

And to try to cover some of these heavy costs, teachers are looking for help.

“I just saw a post of a picture of a bunch of supplies on Facebook that came from Amazon that teachers and friend had sent to a teacher in order to help her with the items for her classroom,” Boone said.

It is especially tough for elementary school teachers. “They have to have their rooms a certain way and it has to be very lively, very vibrant, changing all the time and that’s very expensive,” Boone explained.

According to adopt-a-classroom.org, teachers spend an average of 740 dollars a year of their own money on classroom supplies. So ABC7 has teamed up with Gettel Automotive to celebrate teachers on the Suncoast - calling them “Chalkboard Champions." The community nominates a teacher and ABC7 selects two winners each month - one for Sarasota and Manatee County.

According to Manatee Education Association president Pat Barber, everything helps. “Teachers actually have accounts at Kinkos and other places that print because they pay for their own printing a lot of times. We’re grateful for whatever help we get because we are paying for things out of our own pockets.”

Barber refers teachers to the state’s classroom supply assistance program, but she says its not nearly enough. “It’s severely limited on what teachers can spend. They also have to provide receipts for everything that they buy.”

Once a Chalkboard Champion winner is chosen, ABC7 and Gettel Automotive will schedule the check presentation at the winning teacher’s school.

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