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Evergreen School District teachers told to stop using crowdfunding site Donors Choose

School classroom supplies (KATU News photo)

Crowdfunding campaigns are often used to help raise money after someone suffers a health ailment or a devastating accident, but they're also used by teachers to help raise money to buy supplies for their classrooms.

Amy Johnson, a third-grade teacher at Evergreen School District's Riverview Elementary School, has used the crowdfunding site Donors Choose since 2010. The site allows people from across the world to help fund public school teachers and their projects.

“Thanks to Donors Choose, I have a library of over 2,000 books for my students and enough math manipulatives for all of my students,” Johnson explained.

But this year, the Evergreen School District has put a moratorium on all teacher fundraising.

“It’s heartbreaking. I had a project up and it was halfway funded and I was told I need to take it down,” Johnson said.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office advised the district that a policy needs to be put in place to ensure that the money is properly handled, and that the items are designated as district property and put in the district inventory.

“It really needs to be under a district parameter and under the state guidelines for purchasing,” Evergreen School District Spokeswoman Gail Spolar said.

District officials say they don't want teachers digging into their own pockets for supplies which is why they have made changes over the last few years.

“We do stock a classroom to the point where teachers can conduct classes and kids have supplies,” Spolar said.

This year, Johnson said it's going to be tough without fundraising -- she's even spent $200 of her own money so far.

“Knowing that my kids do benefit so greatly from this and I won’t be able to provide as much,” Johnson said.

The district says they are looking for ways to allow teachers to raise funds, but until they find a way that complies with the state, there must be a moratorium.

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