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Thousands of teachers work to fill each others' classrooms through Facebook group

Posted at 7:22 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 23:12:15-04

Not too long ago, lawmakers passed what some people are calling historic legislation to help the Texas Public Education System.

House Bill 3 requires districts to allocate 30 percent of their yearly budget toward full-time employees, increasing the minimum salary schedule.

Even with the pay increase courtesy of the bill, teachers say they haven't seen those increases just yet and still need to fill their classrooms.

Some teachers are turning to more creative methods, like the Texas Teachers Amazon Gifting Facebook Page, to receive classroom supplies.

Created a little over a week ago, the page already has almost 4,000 members.

The teachers say it's all about giving back and making real connections they can carry into their classrooms.

The way it works is teachers create a wishlist on Amazon and then post their links to the page. Teachers then begin paying it forward by buying school supplies for each other based on the lists.

We had the chance to speak with Julia Therrell, a former Waco ISD teacher and the woman behind the page.

She teaches in Dallas now but took the time to chat over FaceTime.

"And what it's allowing us to do as teachers is to actually fill our classrooms with the necessary supplies in order to start the beginning of the school year. Because during the school year we aren't given, as teachers we're not given, money to supply our classrooms and I'm a high school teacher. I don't get a paper that I get to send home with school supplies. It's all on me and it's all on all of the teachers," said Therrell.

Courtney Jones began the website, Support a Teacher, to help gather school supplies for fellow teachers. According to the website, Support a Teacher "is more than just another place to get needed supplies, but a welcoming community built to provide support."

For the 2019–2020 school year, school districts and open enrollment charter schools are required to increase salaries for full-time employees.

However, Therrell said those raises haven't come into effect yet. She shared they still need to stock their classrooms before the first day of school and it all comes out of their own budgets.