CMS changing policy on teachers' GoFundMe accounts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some local teachers desperate to fill their classrooms with supplies are turning to GoFundMe pages to raise money.

Channel 9 learned Monday that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District is making changes to its policy regarding the practice.

Executives at Classroom Central said teachers spend an average of $500 to $1,000 for supplies for their classrooms.

Charlotte teacher Franchone Bey is among them. As the English teacher gears up for the school year, she's making sure her students are also prepared to succeed.

"If they have access to resources they are readily available they know they are there and they can focus on the classroom," she said.

She said she spent roughly $500 last year on everything from notebooks to Kleenex.

"When students didn't have it, that's when we step in. A lot of teachers do that," Bey said.

This year Bey set up a GoFundMe page for classroom supplies and a field trip.

Eyewitness News found similar pages from teachers across Charlotte raising money for their classes.

GoFundMe reports that since 2014 North Carolina has donated $3.5 million to pages raising money for education.

Grandparent Willie Garner wishes teacher didn't have to ask for help.

"I think they should be well-funded,” Garner said.

But there is less funding for classroom materials.

According to North Carolina in 2008, the state allocated $56 per student. By 2016 it dropped to $30 per student.

Parents are grateful for teachers who fill in the gap.

"I think that’s great," Shaka Crawford said.

Bey said school officials asked her to shut down her page Monday.

A CMS spokesperson told Eyewitness News the district is changing its practice for GoFundMe pages beginning for the 2016-2017 school year.

CMS is recommending teachers use a portal called Online School Payments for fundraising.

Channel 9 sent a list of questions to CMS about the new policy changes and if other websites will be banned. A spokesperson said the district will work to provide answers.

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