Lubbock teachers paying out of pocket when students show up with - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock teachers paying out of pocket when students show up without school supplies

Moore (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Moore (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Moore's supply list (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Moore's supply list (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Source: Facebook Source: Facebook
Mitchell (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Mitchell (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)

As the first day of school gets closer, one South Plains woman expressed her frustration on Facebook last week after shopping for school supplies.

While checking out, she said the cashier told her she only sends her children to school with a pencil because "the teacher has all the stuff."

That post kicked off a conversation about who actually pays for supplies when teachers have to provide them. Some teachers said they spend over $1,000 out of their own pockets for school supply costs each year.

As a visual arts teacher at Margaret Talkington School for Young Women Leaders, Denise Moore knows the impact school supplies have on her classroom.

"It's an investment into their education and you come to school prepared," she said. "It just kind of gets you into the mindset of you're ready to work, and I think that's great... I'd rather my students and their parents buy some pencils and erasers, things that aren't very expensive, so I can take care of the expensive things that are going to make their projects amazing."

When students come prepared and check items off her supply list, Moore can make her project budget through May.

"It just depends on where my ideas go at the end of the year," she said, "to keep the kids engaged until the end of school, because we know that last month is tough."

But after 17 years as a teacher, she knows not every student can bring a full backpack.

"We have a high low socioeconomic population here in our school," she said. "We're approximately 70 percent low socioeconomic. There's always the anticipation that you know that you're going to be giving supplies to students and you won't get those back…and that's okay."

Students showing up with no school supplies is a common situation at other campuses across Lubbock, Moore said, like Evans Middle School.

"There's probably a couple in every classroom, through no fault of their own," said Amber Mitchell, a sixth grade English Teacher at Evans for four years.

That's why Mitchell buys extra school supplies each year.

"I spend anywhere from $150 to $300 per school year out of pocket," she said.

This is a chunk of change Mitchell said makes a difference.

"To watch them change from being nervous, to being scared and not sure what the year is going to hold," she said, "to okay, I've got a firm footing on the first day. Here we go, let's go."

These teachers agree that with multiple community school supply drives across Lubbock, parents in need can prepare students for free.

"You don't want them to be at a disadvantage at the beginning of the year," Moore said. "You want them to have to start the year off with gusto, and if you don't even have what you need to get started…that's heartbreaking."

Nancy Sharp with LISD said economically disadvantaged students make up two thirds of the district.

Sharp advises any parents with concerns to contact a social worker, counselor or principal on campus to find out their options for school supplies availability.

To find an upcoming school supply drive, visit the link below:

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