Teachers dip into own pockets for classroom despite layoff concerns
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- While teachers worry about layoffs with the new budget, the economy has a classroom supplies store closing, too.
Amongst the stress with layoffs, teachers like Kim Newhouse are still dipping into their own pockets for students.
"It's frustrating, but you know, it's something that you do because you want your classroom to look good for the kids. So you don't really have a choice," said Newhouse.
Teachers say if they are going to spend their own money on the classroom, they go to one place: The Learning Center.
However, Owner Carol Birdsong now watches as teachers shop for the last time in 30 years.
"The last couple of years have been difficult with the school budget cuts and general economic problems. So, it did seem like a good time to retire," said Birdsong.
Birdsong says school layoffs have meant less teachers out there to buy, and the ones left just aren't spending as much.
Karen Copeland has been working here since the beginning. She says the store quickly became more than just a place to shop.
"We'll have first year teachers come in, and some of them will be in tears and say 'I can't do this. I can't get the kids to do this.' And I think for those of us who've had experience, we can say this is something that we tried that worked."
Now that the store is closing, teachers are wondering where to turn.
"It's been here as long as I can remember, and it's going to be hard when it's gone," said Newhouse.
While the store wasn't immune from the economy, Birdsong hopes teachers will be.
"Most teachers are very creative. They're always on the lookout for things that are going to enhance the educational value of their classroom, and they will look everywhere they can to find bargains."