Saskatchewan

Regina blogger starts local #ClearTheLists fundraiser to help teachers with supplies

A Regina blogger is helping teachers clear their supplies lists this back-to-school season.

Holly Horvath says she has paid thousands to supply her classrooms over the years

Holly Horvath said she started the campaign, with the help of GoFundMe, after seeing how popular it was in the U.S. (Germain Wilson/CBC News)

A Regina blogger is helping teachers clear their supplies lists this back-to-school season.

Holly Horvath, a lifestyle blogger, has also been an elementary school teacher at Henry Braun for six years and has been teaching for nine.

"I know the feeling of walking into a classroom as a brand new teacher, you just got out of university, your salary is not that great and you're expected to make this classroom warm and welcoming." Horvath said.

She said a Grade 2 teacher in Texas originally started the hashtag #ClearTheLists, which aims to provide teachers with school supplies that aren't covered by government funding.

Horvath said people may think that things they see in classrooms like decorations, posters, activities and other resources are provided by the schools. She said this isn't the case.

"In order for us to do our job and to create a welcoming environment and the best education for our students, we do need to go out and purchase things." Horvath said.

She said she saw the #ClearTheLists campaign take off in the United States and wanted to bring it to Canada.

GoFundMe reached out to her and helped her set up a page to support teachers in Canada. Her fundraiser "Teach Me Style's #clearthelists" has raised more than $800 in two days.

Horvath says a link for the fundraiser can be found on her Instagram page, @teachme_style. (Germain Wilson/CBC News)

"What we're asking is people who need supplies for their classrooms to submit an Amazon list," Horvath said. "They're posting it on my Instagram and then I'm just going on there and choosing who I think might need it the most."

She said a lot of teachers are sharing their stories with her and she's doing her best to help out who she can. The GoFundMe page states that teachers submitted lists should stay under $300.

Horvath said that over the years she has spent thousands of dollars of her own money on supplies for her classroom. She said the idea of spending her own money for her students learning experience is "just kind of what you do" as a teacher.

"I can't imagine teaching without that stuff," Horvath said. "Walking into a classroom with bare walls and sitting in your desk and doing a pen and paper activity all day long, like we just don't teach like that anymore.

Lack of government funding

Horvath said government funding supplies furniture and a few resources but it's not a lot.

"People would be very shocked if they walked in and saw exactly what a government-funded classroom looks like," Horvath said.

She noted the government does provide a tax credit of as much as $100 to teachers.

"It's better than nothing but it barely touches what we spend in a year." Horvath said.

She said schools often have to hold their own fundraisers to come up with the money for additional resources.

The provincial Ministry of Eduacation said operational funding provided to school divisions is "unconditional."

"School divisions are responsible for make funding decisions within their allocated budget to meet local priorities and address the needs of their students," a ministry representative said.