Douglas teachers get less funds, buy supplies out-of-pocket

By TAYLOR PATTON

LAWERENCEVILLE, Ga. — As August creeps closer, mornings change for 22-year-old math teacher Gulannar Rattani as she prepares to go back to school.

Summer vacations are always cut short when you have to prepare for all of the vast responsibilities that come with teaching.

“We work so hard,” Rattani said. “Even though we only work 10 months out of the year, we work overtime like no other career.”

Instead of lying on the beach, Rattani is planning and searching for discounts so she’ll be able to help her students get the supplies they need.


Gwinnett teachers buy supplies for students

First grade teacher at Clarkdale Elementary in Austell, Georgia, Saysha Jackson knows all about paying out-of-pocket for the necessary supplies most don’t even consider.

“I’ve bought things like bookshelves, books, binder rings, paper clips, pretty much anything,” Jackson said. “Since May of this year, I’ve spent about $400 to $500. I try not to think about it. I think last school year, I spent about $750.”

What’s given then and now

Things weren’t always this way. Retired teacher of 30 years Georgie Danley was given the few supplies that were needed at the time by the Douglas County school system in Douglasville, Georgia.

These basic supplies included roll books, chalk and an overhead projector. Teachers were, however, required to decorate their bulletin boards on their own.

“I realized that some things that we wanted were beyond what they had given us,” Danley said. “If we wanted to be creative, then we had to buy our own creativity stuff.”

More than 31 states provided more funding per student in 2008 — during the recession — than in 2014.

This year, at least seven states are expected to cut over 10 percent of their funding.

This issue not only impacts the teachers, but also affects the students and their parents.

Thanks to the generosity of parent donation, some teachers are able to purchase or receive most of the supplies they need.

There are also organizations that allow people to adopt a class or donate whatever supplies are needed. Donors Choose, Class Wish and Adopt-A-Classroom are just a few of these helpful organizations.

Where the money goes

Many wonder why the people who are doing such an important job get so little help from the government. Teachers shape and mold the young mind of tomorrow, but still aren’t taken seriously when it comes to getting what they need.

A lot of these budget cuts are due to standardized test mandates, which requires students to receive a certain test school so their school can keep its current funding.

“The fact that we fund war more than education is unsettling to me,” Rattani said.

“I view my profession as if I were a doctor,” Jackson said. “I save lives. I might not be physically or immediately saving it, but I am in the future.”

No matter what is thrown their way, teachers will never stop teaching.

“Whatever you had to do you did it,” Danley said.

To find out more about education funding in your district and to get involved visit your county’s website.

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