Kansas, Missouri teachers spending hundreds of their own money on school supplies

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 19:29:42-04

Cheryl Barrios is always looking for ways to making teaching third grade more interesting. But the money she uses for her classroom typically comes out of her own pocket.

I spend "somewhere around $1,000 a school year," said Barrios.

She's not alone. Hundreds of teachers in Missouri and Kansas are now using their hard-earned cash to buy school supplies for their classrooms. Pens, pencils, notebooks, highlighters, tissues, books, hand sanitizer are among the tools needed the most.

"Every little bit helps," said Dana Alvarez, an elementary reading teacher.

She explained to 41 Action News that because school budgets are being cut and student enrollment is getting higher, teachers are now having to pull resources to get what they need.

"Teachers that I know spend well over $500 for their classroom supplies," Alvarez said.

School districts in Missouri and Kansas vary in how they reimburse teachers and staff for school supplies.

North Kansas City, where Barrios and Alvarez teach, told 41 Action News they do not have a specific amount set aside for school supplies. Instead, the district provides school supply lists to parents. Families that cannot afford supplies can receive them through district supply drives. As for teachers, the district stocks general supplies, such as pens and poster paper, that can be ordered through the district Purchasing Department.

"Your composition notebook, at 50 cents at your local store. That doesn't sound too bad," said Shannon Horn. "Now buy it for thirty kids."

Horn is helping organize North Heartland Community Church's third annual Teacher Supply Drive. She and others have collected thousand of dollars worth of school supplies to give away for free. So far, more than 650 teachers have signed up to shop-- more than any other year.

"This isn't just about want to haves. This is about need-to-have items that they don't have that they've got to have to do their jobs," Horn said.


North Heartland Community Church

  • Teacher Supply Drive: Thursday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 4800 NW 88th Street

Kansas City Public Schools

  • Summerfest Back-to-School Festival: Saturday, August 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 2901 Troost Avenue

North Kansas City School District

  • Stuff the Bus: Friday, August 8 from 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday, August 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Gladstone Walmart

Olathe School District

  • Backpack supply drive: Wednesday, August 3
  • Backpacks will be stuffed with supplies and delivered to schools
  • Contact your school for more information




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