Teachers crowdfunding to supplement tight budgets

DALLAS — Thousands of schools across Texas have turned to online crowdsourcing to close their budgetary gaps.

Chloe LaFrance, the principal at Uplift Luna Preparatory, a charter school in downtown Dallas, said teachers raised a combined $15,000 using the website DonorsChoose.org during the last school year. A crowdsourcing website similar to Kickstarter.com, it lets donors choose a school, teacher, and specific project.

"Budget is always tight, no matter where you go, what school you're at... it's always tight," LaFrance said. "We're always trying to be as strategic as possible to make sure that we use every resource possible."

Third grade teacher Mellissa Curran, like so many others, is trying to find out how to do more with less.

This year, when Curran wanted an iPad for her classroom, she went online to a crowdsourcing website. In three weeks, she raised close to $600, reaching her goal a day ago.

"We didn't have the Internet back when we were kids ... so now people are more willing and it is more easily accessible for them to donate," Curran said.

While people aren't necessarily donating more, LaFrance said it is a way to make sure every dollar counts.

"It's definitely been surprising," she said. "Our teachers are always telling us when they get our projects funded and we celebrate it together. We didn't think that it would be this big."

E-mail srobertson@wfaa.com


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