Local educators purchase school supplies on their own dime

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It's almost time to head back to school, and local teachers have been buying up school supplies for the new year left and right.

Several educators that 13 NEWS was able to track down while shopping said they have to spend their own money to provide the best education possible for students.

"A lot of the budget cuts have really affected our classrooms and what we can purchase,” Paraprofessional Keri Martens said. “The teachers have to pay for a lot of the supplies that go into our classrooms, and being a para in some of the classrooms I like to help out."

Martens and local child care teacher Melissa Patterson agree this time of year can be a big drain on teachers bank accounts.

“It's a big struggle,” Patterson said. “There’s a teacher shortage. A lot of teachers are not getting paid what they deserve, but we never go into teaching as wanting to get a big payback."

Sometimes the shopping doesn't just stop at school supplies, just last week Martens bought cans of paint to repaint some classrooms.

“I painted our SRO's office to give it some color, so the kids can come in and it be not just stark white, but some calming, cool colors that they feel comfortable with,” Martens said.

Fortunately, Martens said there is some relief for teachers, but it takes a little planning.

"I do know that there are stores like Michaels that give discounts for teachers. A lot of the teachers will use www.teacherspayteachers.com, that other teachers can buy from that it's really cheap. They can get lesson plans and all sorts of different things.” Martens said.

Even with discounts though, buying supplies can be a somewhat permanent drain on teachers’ bank accounts, but for some like Patterson it’s worth it.

"Watching them grow and getting that email that they are in college, or getting ready to graduate from college, and it’s because of the foundation we've prepared them with is the best payback,” Patterson said.

For a complete list of places and websites offering discounts for teachers just click here. .