The Kleenex Chronicles


As schools make do with limited government funding, teachers and parents are forced to help fill classroom libraries and closets. Here, a look at the cost of the 2012–13 school year.

David Taylor, fourth-grade teacher, Burnsville

Average number of students: 27
Out-of-pocket expenses: This was my first year teaching, so the cost was much more than usual, around $800.
Dream donation: Books! The more choices students have, the better chance they’ll become lifelong readers.

Molly Sheahan, ninth-grade English teacher, Minneapolis

Average number of students: 22–25
Out-of-pocket expenses: $500–$700
Dream donation: A library of relevant, age-appropriate books.

Rod and Janine Lossow, parents, Minneapolis public schools

Age of children: Eighth grade, sixth grade, third grade
Out-of-pocket expenses: $100–$150 per child
What it bought: Field trips, supplies, sports fees, and “humdrum stuff that was all paid for when we grew up.”

How to Help

Adopt-a-Classroom, led by former Target exec Bob Thacker, is a national nonprofit that provides resources for teachers through private donations. Donors just pick a classroom from, and teachers use the donations to buy supplies from a network of vendors. Easy as 1-2-3.