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Friday we ran a story, “Teachers lay money down for extras,” about teachers going an extra step to make sure their students were equipped to learn.

This included shelling out money from their own coffers to provide supplies or decorations for their classrooms. Some of these items are as simple as name tags for students’ desks for the first day of school. Some are incentives for students to put more effort into their education. One teacher, Julie Colaizzi, a third-grade teacher at Mary B. Neale Elementary School in Waldorf, said she throws a party with juice and bagels when students have read 26 books aloud. She says she spent about $80 getting prepared for the school year prior to school starting and will probably spend about $100 the rest of the year on items for the classroom. Another teacher, Calvert Middle School eighth-grade U.S. history teacher Julie Darrach, said she spends between $600 and $700 each year on supplies.

While the school systems in Southern Maryland make up a large portion of the operating budgets for each county government, it seems obvious that no matter how much the respective county spends, it isn’t enough.

Lawmakers at the state level tout time and time again how they make sure plenty of money is sent back to their districts in order to adequately fund education, but the fact that many teachers still see the need to spend their own money to do their jobs more effectively shows even more money is needed.

As most parents recognize, preparing to go to school each year can be costly. New clothing, new shoes and new backpacks often have to be purchased. The need to give children basic back-to-school supplies has been recognized for quite some time. Every year, several organizations host backpack drives, where backpacks are filled with universal school supplies, including folders, pencils and notebooks, and then distributed to students in need. Some organizations host clothing drives and distribute nice, gently used clothing to children in need.

Not every teacher puts forth the extra effort to make a classroom look extra special or goes out of her way to make sure every student has what she needs. But, from the small sample size of the teachers featured in last week’s article, it is safe to say Southern Maryland students are lucky to have educators who care enough to make small sacrifices to benefit their pupils.