Metro Schools bans teachers from using crowdfunding for school supplies

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    Metro Nashville School District does not want its teachers to use online fundraising resources to get extra school supplies for their classroom or students.

    The district has told teachers that using sites like Donors Choose or GoFundMe is banned in Metro out of concerns over what supplies will come into the district and because of worries about teachers lining their own pockets.

    That suggestion has some teachers disappointed that they will lose a valuable resource.

    "I would say most teachers spend a couple of hundred a year or more," said Barbara Cowherd who taught at several schools over her 20-year career. "If you have a child that needs something, you go and get that for them. You don't really think about it. It's just what you do."

    Metro gives teachers $200 to spend each year, but once that money is gone, they are on their own. The school board may review the policy to determine if sites like Donors Choose (where teachers can list exactly what they need as in this example) are more reliable and trustworthy than other crowdfunding sites.

    "There's no chance for financial improprieties because safe guards are already built right into it," said TC Weber, a parent of children in Metro and husband to a teacher. "It's extremely frustrating because meanwhile teachers are having to go into their pockets, and I do think it's also a mistake."

    Donors Choose allows teachers to crowdfund for a specific project or need like whiteboards for math routines or headphones for students' Kindles.

    While the district straightens out its policies, Cowherd says teachers will continue to do whatever they can to help their students.

    "I liked the kids," Cowherd said when asked about her passion for teaching. "You get real real close to the children. You worry about them. You wake up at night because you worry about them. You sometimes don't sleep at night because you worry about them."

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