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Teachers are Spending Money Out of Their Own Pockets

As students savor their last few days of summer vacation, their teachers are spending time in the classroom and money out of their pockets. KSMU's Kristian Kriner spoke with a local teacher about how much money comes out of her own pocket.

Amy Hopkins, a 4th grade teacher at Rountree Elementary in Springfield, gave me a tour of her colorfully decorated classroom, pointing out the things she bought with her own money.

Hopkins has been teaching at Rountree for 10 years.

Every year, Hopkins spends money out of her own pocket for extra decorations and supplies for her classroom.

"Most of the basic supplies, you know glue and markers and art supplies, scissors all those type of basics, staples are provided by the district, but anything additional that you want to do to decorate the kind of frills you add to your room to make it your own is usually out of your own pocket,"Hopkins said.

Hopkins says she spends around $200.00 to $300.00 of her own money to prepare her room for the new school year.

She also spends money throughout the school year for parties or rewards for her students.

Hopkins says the school district makes sure the teachers get what they need to help the children learn better.

"I do feel like especially in our building that whatever we need we get help in trying to find the resources to get that. It's like anything else, there are tons of things I could use in my classroom or would love to have, but for budget reasons can't acquire them for whatever reason," Hopkins said.

Many teachers in rural areas have a harder time getting the money they need to decorate their classroom the way they want.

Teachers in Springfield can acquire extra money from local grants and from school PTAs.

Robert Keyes is the Public Information Officer for Springfield Public Schools.

He says each school does have a budget for teachers, but the money is only for items conducive to learning.

"Some teachers just prefer to do a little bit more again to make their classrooms look a certain way or feel a certain way and it sort of adds to the atmosphere. If it does, but if it falls outside if that immediate learning tools, at this point in time I would think that those dollars will continue to come from those teachers pockets," Keyes said.

Keyes says teachers need to apply for local grants, so they don't have to spend too much money on extra items for their classroom.

For KSMU News, I'm Kristian Kriner.