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We all want our children to get innovative, informative lessons at school. But did you know what happens in your child's classroom could come down to how much money the teacher is willing to spend out of her own pocket?
Teachers have to fork over their own money for supplies, but there is something that could help.
Hawaii taxpayers spend more than two billion dollars a year on education, but still it's hard for teachers to get what they need.
"It took me five years before I had my own globe in my own classroom and I'm a history teacher," says Cindy Tong, Mililani High School.
History teacher Cindy Tong gives us a lesson by going shopping.
She knows what's in every aisle and has a keen eye for bargains.
"Oh my god, this is a wonderful price. I'm buying these now," says Tong.
She left the business world to teach and was shocked to see her first teaching supply kit.
"It had 10 manila folders, two pens -- one black, one blue -- one red pencil, a stapler and a roll of tape," says Tong.
She could fill out purchase orders and wait for some supplies. But choice is limited.
"Out of the Department of Education: no colors like this," says Tong.
And some purchases could be hard to explain.
"One of our science teachers does this really cool experiment with a pickle," says Tong.
So she shops.
"At $1.05 a piece, just can't beat the price, just can't beat it," says Tong.
But all of it still adds up.
Tong would love to have what some lawmakers are proposing: a prepaid debit card for teachers.
"This puts the supply into the classroom immediately, as well as in a most cost effective way," says Representative Corinne Ching, R-Nuuanu-Liliha.
Watching Tong shop, there's no doubt she would spend the money with her students in mind.
"We want to take away all the barriers for them to learn, so I'm buying these," says Tong.
The amount of a debit card is still being debated; some suggest
around $250. Tong and her husband -- who both teach at public school
-- figure they spend at least $1,500 a year on supplies to personalize
List Price $299.99
Sale Price $225.00
Crayola Colored Pencil: 240, 12 colors
List Price $66.99
Sale Price $51.33
Everyone Can Be a Star Bulletin Board set
List Price $11.98
Sale Price $9.99
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