Teachers' response to school supplies lists critics

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Sara Story - bio | email
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JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - Many East Texas parents are outraged about what they are calling "ridiculous school supply lists." Now, teachers are starting to answer the critics.

For example, a teacher at an elementary school says she has personally spent thousands of dollars of her own money and worked countless hours off the clock to make sure her students have the best.

Preparations are made long before children walk through the door. Shelby Phillips has taught for 11 years at Jacksonville ISD, and each year she spends time and money getting her classroom ready.

"I've had the same calendar for 10 years, and as I was moving rooms, I thought, 'I am going to freshen up my stuff,'" said Phillips. "Just that calendar alone was $15, and I bought the simplest one."

Phillips is given a classroom budget each year. Last year, she was allotted $200 and is responsible for everything in her classroom. When the budget runs out, she begins paying out of her own pocket.

"The ink out of that printer comes out of my pocket," said Phillips. "They aren't going to supply that."

She says this is why teachers ask parents to help provide school supplies.

"It is kind of a drop in the bucket compared to what teachers have to spend throughout the year," said Phillips.

Charles Lowry is the principal at East Side Elementary and says the school must decide where to spend their money. If it all goes towards school supplies, less is given to other areas like technology.

"We are trying to make the best decisions academically for our kids and we are asking for parents to partner with us," said Lowry.

"I know it's hard," said Mary Vardaman , a teacher. "Things are expensive. I understand that all parents maybe cant buy everything on the list."

Vardaman says, in her classroom, parents aren't providing for other children. Organizations like Kiwanas and PATH and, of course, teachers donate supplies to the kids in need.

"Many times the classroom teacher will provide what's missing," said Vardaman.

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