Plano ISD store provides supplies to help curb teachers’ spending

PLANO, TEXAS – A trip to the grocery store usually is not just for items Cody McGregor needs for her home.

She’s a teacher at Schell Elementary in Plano and her classroom has needs just like her own family.

“I feel like I am always adding a box of Kleenex to my grocery list," she said.

Typically, students are given a list of supplies they’ll need for the year but affording it all is a financial challenge for many families. What students can’t buy, teachers often end up picking up the tab.

“Statistics say teachers will spend $200 a year on their own school supplies,” McGregor said.

Some studies show even that figure may be low. But the Plano Independent School District’s CORE Store helps bridge the supplies gap their teachers see in the classrooms without burdening their budget.

“Teachers are rock stars but they’re not paid like rock stars,” said Jean Callison, with the PISD Education Foundation.

The store is specifically for PISD teachers and has just about all the supplies they might need from pens and paper to Kleenex and hand sanitizer. There are limits for how much each teacher can take and teachers at low-income or Title I campuses are given priority.

The idea for the CORE Store started two years ago when the PISD Education Foundation conducted research and found teachers paying for too much.

“We did a survey for teachers and found they’re spending quite a bit of money out of their own pocket,” Callison said. “So we researched what supplies they would need and how much they are spending.”

Everything in the store is funded with donations through corporate partners and private donations. The CORE Store said they helped pump $112,000 worth of school supplies into their classrooms last school year.

But McGregor will tell you it’s not just about the teachers. One room in the store is devoted to backpacks and lunch boxes in case there’s that one student that might not have as much as their classmates.

“If a kid does not have a lunch box, they can feel so excited if you have one for them,” she said. “It really just gives them that boost of confidence.”

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