LAS CRUCES – Public school teachers across the United States spent an average of $479 of their own money on classroom supplies in the 2014-15 school year, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Department of Education.
Earlier this month, the Las Cruces Public Schools Foundation, a non-profit organization raising private and public funds to support district schools, began a new program to help some teachers defray those costs.
On Sept. 11, the foundation held the first planned monthly drawing, awarding $100 “mini-grants” to teachers. The funds for the grants were provided by sponsoring organizations consisting of the foundation itself, the Virginia Brilliant Endowment, the Las Cruces Public Schools Board of Education, the Mesilla Valley Transportation Endowment, the Jimmy Mendoza Fund and the Parkhill, Smith and Cooper Grant, as well as members of the Las Cruces Public Schools top administration.
A total of 38 teachers were selected randomly in the board room at the Las Cruces Public Schools Administration building that afternoon, the names of teachers who had applied for the mini-grants drawn from a metal drum spun by hand.
Applications to be included in the drawing were open to all LCPS teachers.
As far as high school rivalry is concerned, the wheel of fortune appeared to favor Centennial High School the most, with four of its teachers winning $100 mini-grants in September. Las Cruces, Mayfield, and Oñate all saw two of their teachers selected, while Arrowhead Early College had one and the two remaining high schools had no winners.
The foundation plans a monthly drawing through the school year, with approximately 19 teachers being awarded $100 apiece.
Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AlgernonActor on Twitter.