Classroom crowdsourcing: teachers log on to raise funds for school supplies
Published Friday, December 13, 2013 2:04PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 13, 2013 3:26PM EST
As education budgets grow tighter, teachers across the country are turning to a new crowdsourcing website to purchase school supplies for their students.
The website -- myclassneeds.ca -- was launched just a few months ago, and has since raised thousands of dollars to pay for more than 200 projects in publicly-funded classrooms.
After submitting a proposal to the website, one Toronto teacher was able to raise more than $1,600 to buy five video cameras for her communications technology class.
“I have friends who did Indigogo, friends who have done Kickstarter projects; so when I heard something similar that was aimed at educators, I thought really interesting opportunity,” said Rachel Rosen, who teaches at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough.
In order to submit a proposal, teachers need the approval from their principal. The website then reviews the request to ensure that what they are asking for is not related to the curriculum, but seen as an extra, and is not already covered by provincial or board funding.
David Lomax, who also teaches at Lester B. Pearson, said he is trying to raise money to build an in-class library for at-risk youth.
“It’s always good when people can choose what they want to give money to,” he said.
And while teachers agree crowdsourcing isn’t ideal, they believe it’s necessary in today’s cash-strapped school system.
“I would love if schools had all the funding that they needed but realistically it’s tough times,” Rosen said.
The Toronto District School Board approved $27 million in cuts for the 2013-2014 school year over the summer, having cut an estimated $58 million the year before.
Some argue fundraising has always been a part of school life.
TDSB trustee Howard Goodman said “no matter what the level of funding, there will be specific needs in specific classrooms.”
And Ontario’s Minister of Education Liz Sandals said crowdsourcing may be an improvement to older fundraising methods.
“You are not relying on kids to go door to door so this may actually be an improvement in the way people do fundraising,” she told CTV News.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness