SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Each year, Central Florida teachers are faced with an extra cost to help their students—paying out of pocket for school supplies. When you add inflation into the mix, teachers Corin Plucinski and Meaghan Bohn are concerned about that extra expense.
“It’s never like you have to do this but we want it for the kids and we see it making a difference,” said Bohn, a lower elementary special education teacher.
Both Bohn and Plucinski teach at the Arbor School of Florida, a private school for special needs students. The small school does provide them with supplies, but they told News 6 some specific items are still needed.
“(We need) sensory stress balls and the fidgets and finger painting and all that stuff all of our kids need,” Bohn said.
They are among the dozens of elementary, middle and high school teachers who turned to the My Oviedo Florida Facebook page in hopes of getting help by posting their wish lists.
“I have children of my own and even the supply list from five years ago to now, it’s like, it’s a ton more money than we’re spending as parents and then also as educators,” said Plucinski, adding last year, she spent over $500 in school supplies.
Emma Reichert, the realtor and Oviedo resident who started the Oviedo Facebook page more than a decade ago, said for the past five years, she’s been posting about the need for school supplies on behalf of teachers, so the community lends a helping hand.
“My concern is that a parent is going to have to make a decision between food and school supplies,” Reichert said. “Hopefully, (the page) will alleviate any pain—financial or otherwise—to local families (and) 3,500 people have seen the post so hopefully it does its job.”
Organizations, like the Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools, have Tools 4 Seminole Schools. It’s a supply store in Sanford where teachers can shop for free.
“When we surveyed our teachers this year, they were spending anywhere from $500 to 1,000 of their own money on supplies,” said Emma VanSmith, the executive director of the organization. “We have about 200 to 250 (teachers) a month that come through. Prices on everything have gone up. Our backpacks that we purchase went up from about $4 per backpack to 6. Reams of paper have almost doubled.”
The Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools also distributes 3,500 brand-new backpacks filled with school supplies throughout the school district for less fortunate students. On Monday, July 11, the organization will be holding a virtual supply drive.
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