As school districts have felt the economic pinch over the years, the burden on teachers to provide supplies for their own classrooms has grown exponentially. It’s such a boon that GoFundMe even ran a Thank a Teacher promotion earlier this year, kicking in $100 for all campaigns for teachers or classrooms that raised over $100 from at least five donors.
Teachers across the country are using GoFundMe to fund everything from basic classroom supplies to frogs. Yes, frogs. Live ones, not those gross ones you had to dissect in Biology class if you didn’t protest for animal rights’ sake.
Now, at least one school district has made a policy change that forbids their teachers from using GoFundMe to raise money for classroom supplies.
Franchone Bey, an English and Journalism teacher at Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, says she spent $500 of her own money on supplies for her classroom last school year. This year, she decided to put up a GoFundMe campaign. But this past Monday, officials at the district asked her to take it down.
In her now-removed plea (archive here), she writes:
I’m an English teacher and I love what I do!
My English & Journalism students are smart, inquisitive and enter the classroom every day with high expectations for their learning experience. I always remind my students that I believe in them and that they can do anything they set their minds to.
I teach at a Title I school in North Carolina where 100 percent of our students receive free breakfast and lunch.
The funds we receive will be used for school supplies and two field trips to the local newspaper and television station.
She raised $1250 of a $2000 goal before she was asked to take the campaign down. It’s worth noting that campaign organizers still have access to funds even if they have removed their campaigns, so hopefully this admirable and caring teacher can still access the money raised. It’s unclear if the school district will forbid that as well.
WSOC reports that a CMS spokesperson told them the district has implemented an Don’t GoFundYourself policy for the 2016 – 2017 school year and is asking teachers to use Online School Payments instead. The OSP platform “allows schools to post activities such as yearbooks, field trips and uniforms online so that parents can easily pay using a credit card or an eCheck,” according to their website.
We have reached out to CMS for comment on why they are steering teachers away from GoFundMe, we’ll update when we hear back.