Durham teachers get school supplies from donor market

Posted August 12, 2014

— Back to school time can be very expensive for both parents and teachers.  

A survey shows the average public school teacher in America spent $149 dollars of her own money on school supplies last year. Teachers spend another $138 throughout the year on basics like tissues, wipes and paper towels.

At Crayons2Calculators in Durham, their money is no good. Instead, teachers shop on credits based on the level of need at their school.

A group of Duke University students started the organization about a decade ago to gather donations of school supplies and money to help the city's schools.

Every month, they invite a group of teachers to "shop" their Holloway Street warehouse. Over the course of the year, teachers from all Durham Public Schools get a chance to gear up for free. Teachers get points to "spend" based on the level of free and reduced-price lunch at their school.

Kirtina Jones said the warehouse is a welcome aid as she stocks her second-grade classroom.

"Binders, glue sticks, dry-erase markers are so expensive, but you need them," she said. 

"Especially with the money we make, it's tough to do it. This is such a blessing. I'm so thankful."

Jones said when she started her teaching career, more supplies were, well, supplied.

getting ready for the school year is a lot different from when she started 11 years ago.

"You would get this nice box of things to prepare, but now it's not realistic," she said. "You don't get a thing to help get you started."

Jones' school, R.N. Harris, is one of eight that are invited to stock up on $50 to $75 in supplies each month.

"It's like the highlight of the month," she said. "And when you miss your month, it's like missing Christmas!"

A spokeswoman for the Durham school system said Tuesday that much of the schools budget went toward teacher and aid salaries and that any donations from the community are welcome and appreciated.

Crayons2Calculators has collection bins around Durham and will hold a special school supply event Wednesday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Chick-Fil-A on Roxboro Road.


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  • eyeoneastsky Aug 13, 2014

    I remember the days when parents bought their children school supplies. That was before other things took priority. Like cell phones, name brand shoes and clothes, electronics. Strange days we live in.

  • ncouterbanks69 Aug 13, 2014

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    And I want to thank the tax payers for it so that my children get a real education. Heaven forbid the parents actually get involved (see charter schools) and help with classroom needs. The horror!

  • glarg Aug 13, 2014

    So it sounds to me like Problem Solved.

    We didnt need to hire another set of requisition clerks. We didnt need to send out an RFP for glue sticks and have them dry out in a State warehouse because we bought a 5 year supply.

    This way the teachers get the types of things they want and and actually use at a minimum of waste.

    My son had a teacher who used to do all her work on post it notes so she requested lots of them. We sent them in and she used them. Other than her no one requested post-its, but they did want the virus blocking kleenex.

    Should the State buy a ton of Post-its that arent being used? Or should this teacher not have access to them? What if the State purchasing contract doesnt specify anti-viral kleenex?

    Seems like a very simple solution to just have the teacher request the extras they they personally need. By far the most efficient.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 13, 2014

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    This has been a problem for a long time in North Carolina. If it takes Republicans in government for the media to report on it so be it. Just get the message out!

  • recontwice Aug 13, 2014

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    The state govt is too busy funnelling every tax dollar they can to the charter and private school mc crory donors!!

  • David McIntee Aug 13, 2014
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    Actually, I believe this is a local responsibility. The parents and local school boards should be addressing this.

    But if this is veiled bash of the current administration, read the article carefully, the Duke students set up this organization TEN Years ago.

  • Anita Woody Aug 12, 2014

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    I agree. My sister is a 2nd grade aher. She gets a stipend of $175 to last the entire year.

  • scorekeep Aug 12, 2014

    Disgusting to see the state government has no more respect for education than allowing any money for basic supplies.