We know that schools and districts have a limited amount of resources for classroom supplies and equipment. If you are struggling to find the funding needed to purchase equipment and supplies for classroom use, please review the following options that we are aware of based on our experience in the education system:
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund of 2021-22 is available to local education agencies (LEAs) to address the impact COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation. These funds are intended to provide school teachers and leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools, including purchasing educational technology (hardware, software, and connectivity) for students. Talk to your school administrator about utilizing these limited-time funds for your classroom needs.
If the classes you teach fall under Career and Technical Education (CTE), you are in luck! CTE programs are typically well funded through National Perkins dollars. These funds are used each year to more fully develop the academic, career, and technical skills of students enrolled in secondary and postsecondary CTE programs. Equipment approval can often be as simple as completing a purchase request or letting your CTE specialist know you have a certain equipment need.
Be sure to inquire about your school or district's policies on using CTE money for equipment purchases and make a formal request to receive funding for your classroom purchase.
School TrustLand Money
Depending on which state you reside in, your school may have a specific amount of TrustLand money available each year to purchase needed equipment and supplies. While each LEA has different procedures, teachers/administrators will typically issue a request for trustland money to their school or district, outlining an explanation of the equipment or supplies needed and the purpose of the expense. Applications are then reviewed and approved by school community councils and funds are released.
The following states have school TrustLand monies available each year: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
As demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers have increased, funding for such programs is often available to schools and districts. Check with your school or district to see if there are monies available for STEM education. The following links will give you more information about STEM grants.
Donors Choose is a crowd funding site similar to KickStarter, but specifically for teachers. Public school teachers from across the U.S. can create classroom project requests that donors can view and choose to fund. It's really a fantastic concept that has benefited millions of students for over a decade.
Ask if your school or district has a foundation grant. Local community members often support their schools by donating to a specific foundation that is used to fund needed programs in education. Grant applications usually require specific information about the equipment or supplies needed, the amount that is being requested, and an explanation of how the purchase will benefit students.
Finding a grant to fund your project might feel intimidating but the truth is there are many grants and programs available to teachers.
While there are many websites available to help teachers find a grant specific to their needs, we especially liked Canyons School District's page on technology-specific grants. The site offers a lot of useful information including current grant listings, grant writing, and corporate grants available to teachers. http://edtech.canyonsdistrict.org/grants.html