Nevada revives DonorsChoose school supplies grant program for teachers
Officials with the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) announced Tuesday they’re launching a $10 million state-funded grant program that will provide resources to 20,000 classrooms.
The grant program comes via a partnership between NDE and DonorsChoose, a nonprofit crowdfunding platform that the department previously worked with in 2021 to distribute $8 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to teachers in need of classroom supplies.
The grant program is open to any full-time public school teacher who spends at least half of their time educating or counseling students, including teachers at public charter schools. Each educator will receive up to $500 in funding for their projects. An NDE spokeswoman said educators can also use the platform to raise funds from the general public beyond the $500 provided by the state, but if a proposed project is not fully funded after four months of being posted, it will expire and become ineligible for funding.
The $10 million appropriation is part of a 2023 bill, SB339, sponsored by Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop (D-Las Vegas), a former Clark County teacher.
“After spending 30 years as a Clark County educator, I know how often teachers and support staff come out of pocket for classroom supplies,” Dondero Loop said Tuesday. “While there’s still more work to be done, this initiative will help educators keep more money in their pockets.”
The National Center for Educational Statistics found that during the 2014-2015 school year, 94 percent of K-12 public school teachers spent their own money buying classroom supplies. On average, these teachers spent $478.
During a Tuesday press conference at Clarence Piggott Academy of International Studies, a magnet elementary school in Summerlin, fourth grade teacher Beth Barber estimated that she has spent thousands of dollars on classroom supplies during her 20-year career. While she doesn't think the $500 allotment for each qualifying educator goes far enough, she said it’s certainly appreciated.
“It's tough right now,” she said. “So just your basic pencils and things, just having an extra box somewhere, is kind of peace of mind.”
The Nevada Department of Education will begin funding eligible requests on a first-come, first served basis starting Tuesday. The instructional materials request must be aligned with the Nevada Academic Content Standards. Eligible projects are expected to be funded within a week of posting. An additional allocation will cover processing and shipping fees.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert said that unlike in 2021, teachers will not need to pay for the materials they are requesting and submit receipts to receive a reimbursement.
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