Teachers First Day of School Expenses

August 17, 2009 7:18:12 AM PDT
Southeast Fresno Elementary School will open its doors for the first time Monday to about 800 kids. Getting this new school up and running has been a challenge, especially for teachers who are spending hundreds of their own dollars.Teachers here at Southeast Elementary have been rushing to make sure this brand new school is ready for about 800 students tomorrow. And that means spending some of their own money on school supplies and asking parents to buy more.

"I bought the scissors. Two pack, dollar, dollar store."

Starting Monday, Diana Coakley will begin teaching second grade at Southeast Elementary. Portable classrooms make up the brand new K through 6 school. It was designed to help with overcrowding in the district and will be open for the next two years until a permanent school is built in a different location.

But with budget cuts, Coakley was only given $150-dollars to buy school supplies for the entire year. She's already spent that, plus $350 dollars of her own money! "I try to find the best deal on composition books, the best deal on erasers, so I don't have to purchase it on my school budget cause I need to save that for other things."

The school's principal said opening a new school has been a financial challenge. "Because we're a new school, we don't have a lot of supplies that they need or we try not to think of everything that they might need and we miss things."

And that means "wish lists," where teachers ask parents to buy supplies, have gotten longer. "Pencils, paper, highlighters, and anti-bacterial hand soap. All types of good stuff."

For some valley families, finding a bargain means planning ahead. "We make a list before we come. Everyone cleans out stuff from last year from closets and stuff and we make a list and head out."

School officials say despite the rush and expense associated with a new school year, in the end, it's all worth it. "We've been working really hard to get everything ready so it's gonna be exciting tomorrow and the reward is going to be when we see all of those beautiful little faces."

Parents we spoke to say they spend anywhere between $50 and $200-dollars for school supplies and clothes.

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