Richmond teacher turns to fundraising to create kindergarten classroom library

Posted at 6:43 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-29 18:43:09-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Teachers say it is not uncommon to spend several hundred dollars of their own money each year to stock their classrooms with items students need. One local teacher is getting a boost from social media to make a difference in her classrooms.

Veteran Richmond Public Schools teacher Ted Edison knows as the days wind down until school starts, teachers are already picking up the tab for much-needed classroom materials.

“You will have to spend your own money. That’s especially true if you teach in an area that the poverty rate is high. You can’t necessarily depend on parents or children having those resources to bring in materials they need,” Edison said.

He said the bottom line is, teachers do come out of pocket because they know it’s all about educating children.  “If you have those materials, it makes it easier than if you don’t,” Edison added.

These days, some teachers turn to social media for help. Like first time Richmond Public Schools teacher Marci Semeraro. She has already raised $600 of her $1100 goal on GoFundMe. Her goal is to replace the few books in her classroom that are more than three decades old.

She plans to fill the shelves for a new classroom library and buy other needed supplies. School Board rep Mamie Taylor calls Semeraro’s efforts phenomenal.

“To see the need is there and instead of sitting back and complaining and bad talking the district, say I’ll do something about it, so others can follow suit and make a difference. This could have a spiral effect on the community and across the district,” Taylor said.

Some parents in that Swansboro neighborhood say they’re optimistic the teacher will reach that $1,100 goal.

“They’ll get it done. More than likely, parents will come in and volunteer and give more to the schools as well, Lil Allen said.

Taylor, who was once a school teacher in Richmond, says it is an overwhelming concern to know teachers are spending hundreds, if not thousands of their own money on work related items for the classroom.

“Although,  we do have our teacher store. That allows teachers to come in and pick up supplies. That was generated over the last two years, but it's still not enough to cover the need for the entire district,” Taylor explained.

The school board member says she plans to look into whether some Title One federal funds designated for certain schools within RPS can be used to help in this situation.

Taylor also plans to continue her practice of allocating some of the 5th District’s discretionary funds to provide backpacks filled with supplies to schools and teachers who need them.

If you would like to pitch in, the link to the GoFundMe is here.