Educators from all across the US recently flocked to Target, which had furniture and school chairs for sale with 15% off, looking to get the necessary supplies for their students at cheap prices. Some educators, however, have resorted to even greater measures to acquire things like desks and chairs, the most basic of classroom essentials, turning to crowdfunding sites.
A quick look at DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding site designed specifically to cater to educators, reveals Fresno’s situation when it comes to making sure that classrooms have the equipment necessary. The site has dozens of listings for the area, asking for things like stools, camp chairs and beanbags, as well as the good, old-fashioned school desks and chairs.
Amy Supulveda is one educator who’s resorted to crowdfunding, using the platform to try and get her seventh-grade classroom at Central Fresno’s Fort Miller Middle School some desks. According to her, the ones she got from Fresno Unified suffered from vandalisation, with drawings of male genitalia and swastikas all over them.
She asked how to get new ones from the higher-ups, and was told to either get some from the departing staff, hope that her district had some to spare, or raise the money and get them herself. She sums it up as basically being told that it wasn’t going to happen.
Currently, she’s raised $150 for six tables that each cost $239, with a total target of $1,616, all for replacing desks that, according to her, are not only ugly, but unfit for the activities of her curriculum, as the desks are attached to chairs via metal railings, necessitating hopping to get seated.
Annually, teachers at Fresno Unified receive about $300 to go look for supplies and school chairs for sale at Office Depot.
Sepulveda has done a lot to ensure that her classrooms are bright and complete, even opening two credit card accounts to get equipment, a major undertaking for a new educator. She says that, with all the issues with equipments, the students are seeing, plain as day, that the schools aren’t being funded; that no one really cares.
The educators in the area have expressed appreciation for Target’s sale, as it let them get school chairs for sale and other stuff, but have openly wondered as to why the school district has them spending money from their own pockets, which shouldn’t happen at all.
Fresno Unified spokesman Miguel Arias confirmed the annual financing the district gives for educators, saying that educators sometimes receive on top of the $315 annual funding. He says that they are unaware of crowdfunding campaigns for school equipment, and that teaches have options should they prefer, saying that the district provides chairs and desks, but that there’s room for teacher choice.