Finding ways to fund a classroom
Aug 30, 2018 10:48AM
By Jana Klopsch
The Granite Education Foundation surprises a teacher by announcing she won her grant. (Courtesy The Granite Education Foundation)
By Nikki Crown | [email protected]
With school starting many parents and students have forked out money for school supplies and school clothes. Sometimes the list for back to school shopping provided by the teacher may seem extensive and contain odd suggestions such as hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes.
With many school districts facing tighter budgets more teachers are having to provide themselves with the basic tools they need to just do their jobs. This does not even cover any extra activities or project the teacher may want to do with their students.
In a survey by Scholastic, an educational publishing and media company, “principals were found to have spent an average of $683 of their own money, while teachers spent $530 — and teachers in high-poverty schools spent nearly 40 percent more than that.”
How much a teacher spends often depends a lot on what and whom they teach.
There is a bit of a tax break for teachers who spend money out of pocket. The Educator Tax Relief Act of 2015 (H.R. 2940) is a bill to provide relief for educators who pay out of pocket for classroom expenses incurred to help meet their students’ needs, up to $250. An educator can only spend up to $250 dollars, but most of them are expending twice that.
The Granite Education Foundation recognized this need and found a way to fill it. They support educators by “providing resources for the classroom through grants, incentives and basic needs for students. The Granite Education Foundation connects teachers to resources through the Cash for Classrooms grant.” It’s designed for educators to purchase classroom supplies that district funds do not cover. They award approximately $25,000 in grants to teachers each year.
The foundation is mainly funded from their Fore Kids Golf Tournament that members of the business community participate in. The tournament is held every summer and all proceeds benefit their Cash for Classrooms program. This year’s event took place on July 12 at Wasatch State Park Golf Course in Midway, Utah.
The tournament included a four-person team scramble round of golf and contests including Hole-in-Ones, closest to the pin and longest drive. After the round, participants were treated to a steak fry lunch.
The foundation also accepts donations from other outside sources and community members.
In order for an educator to qualify for the grant they can go to the foundation’s website at granitekids.org and fill out an application. The application process is meticulous and requires the educator to specify exactly how the funds will be used and how it will benefit their classroom. After the applications are received a committee reviews each one and selects the programs that will get funded.
The programs that are selected have wide variety of intended uses from a reading rug for their class room to materials for a science project.
Brooker Porter, the marketing and communications director for the Granite Education Foundation, said her favorite part of working with the program is “seeing the excitement on the teachers’ faces when we go into their classroom to surprise them with the information that they’ve been selected for a grant.”
“We dress up with super hero capes and bring signs. The students will get so excited and a lot of times it brings the teachers to tears. They’re so excited to be able to fund this activity or program for their kids,” she said. “Seeing how much the teachers care about their students and how invested they are in the success of their students” is why she does what she does.
Porter said, “This is a great way to give back to the teacher for those with the means and ability. If that’s outside your abilities right now, just buy a teacher a box of Kleenexes or a container of hand sanitizer and see their eyes light up when they realize that we appreciate the sacrifices they are making on behalf of the students they are in charge of.”
For more information, visit granitekids.org.