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Lack of state funding forces teachers to look elsewhere for money

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Smart boards, iPads and laptops are in many Illinois classrooms, but local teachers say a lack of state funding makes it harder to pay for the new technology.

Local teachers are coming up with some pretty creative ways to bring technology to the classroom.

A teacher at Washington Elementary was able to get a new iPad this week after convincing a private donor to pay for it. Creative funding efforts like that are happening all across the district.

There's no state money to pay for Smart boards like the ones at Monroe Elementary school. Principal Brian Trowbridge said they're having to rely on the community to pay for technology.

"When it comes to the finances that we're awarded by the state, those aren't things we as a school can control," said Trowbridge.
 
On Tuesday, Monroe Elementary got $8,000 from Gem City Ford in Quincy following a test drive fundraiser. That money will buy two Smart boards and eight iPads for students.

"It gives them another opportunity to be hands-on with the learning process," Trowbridge said. "There's a lot of neat things to bring into the classroom with this type of technology."

Monroe isn't the only school looking for outside help. Tori Campbell, a kindergarten teacher at Washington Elementary, got a new iPad after raising the money on DonorsChoose.org, a website where teachers post requests for classroom supplies or tools and then donors pay for them. The Horace Mann Companies and local agent Colin Ash fully-funded Campbell's project at a total of $517 as part of a campaign to fund projects in high-poverty schools.

"They're learning beginning sounds, they're learning literacy concepts, math concepts," Campbell said. "I can get science apps. I can get such a vast array to really compliment what I'm already teaching in my core."

With the addition of a new iPad, Campbell said her students will be more prepared for the future.

"Before long they're going to be doing testing and things on computers and these kids they have got to be able to have it in their hands now so they can learn and be confident in using it," Campbell said.

Schools are also sending students door-to-door fundraising more than ever before. You can expect to see candy bars, wrapping paper and popcorn for sale soon.


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