ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona teachers can apply for up to $600 to spend in classroom, but funds are going fast

Aug 23, 2022, 9:30 AM | Updated: 9:42 am
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Public Schools)...
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Public Schools)
(Facebook Photo/Mesa Public Schools)

PHOENIX – Arizona teachers can apply for grants of up to $600 each to fund classroom supplies or projects, but they better hurry.

“It will probably go by pretty quickly because … it’s capped at $5 million, and the last time we made a $14 million investment it was completely spent down in less than two weeks,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday, the first day teachers could apply for the funds.

The available dollars in the state’s two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima, already were running low by Tuesday morning.

Hoffman tweeted that nearly 1,000 projects were funded in the first 24 hours of the program.

The Arizona Department of Education is partnering with DonorsChoose on the grants. Teachers can find details about the process and apply at azed.gov/teachergrants.

“This is for any of our educators, from preschool through high school in our public school system,” Hoffman said Monday.

“It could be for special education teachers, music teachers, math – really any of our teachers doing amazing work in our schools who want to make sure that they have the support and resources to make this a fabulous start of the new school year.”

Hoffman, a Democrat who is up for reelection this year, said the funds can be used to purchase educational tools such as books, computers and lab supplies.

“We hope we’re encouraging teachers to use their creativity, as well, in thinking about what’s going to be most impactful for student learning, but also to make sure that teaching and learning is fun.”

Hoffman said research shows that programs like the classroom funding help with teacher retention, a big issue in a state facing school staff shortages.

“I had heard firsthand, especially over the last couple of years during the pandemic, of teachers spending their own money out of pocket for different types of even curriculum and tools that you would think would already be provided, but our schools have been severely underfunded for the past decade,” she said.

“And so, these types of financial supports help our teachers to feel valued. … It’s about having the tools that they need for our students and understanding that our teachers are really the experts in knowing what their students need.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

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Arizona teachers can apply for up to $600 to spend in classroom, but funds are going fast