You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Ypsilanti Public Schools teachers finding ways to fund projects, additional supplies

By Danny Shaw

Note: The caption for the second image in this story has been updated. The kindergartners do not have a class nap time.


Clockwise from right: kindergartners Lola Barrett, Kayla Whitehead, and Alexandra Remus read and listen to "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" together at the listening center in Krista Boyer's classroom at Perry Child Development Center in Ypsilanti. Krista was able to set up the listening center with the help of grants.

Angela J. Cesere |

Students in Krista Boyer’s kindergarten class at Perry Child Development Center have been using a new reading corner, listening to audio books at their updated listening center and playing with more toy sets.

Boyer was able to provide all of it without costing Ypsilanti Public Schools a penny.

Boyer is one of several Perry CDC teachers spending time outside of the classroom to find alternative ways to fund projects and get additional supplies for her students.

With districts across the state running on deficit budgets, including YPS, Boyer said it’s crucial for teachers to find other outlets to help fund classroom projects.

“I look at the faces of the children in my class and they deserve so much more than I can possibly give them,” Boyer said. “Their faces are what make you dig to find the materials they need.”


A large rug was donated to Mehgan Hilobuk's kindergarten classroom at Perry Child Development Center.

Angela J. Cesere |

She was the first in the building to use, an online charity where teachers can ask for donations for various projects. Donors are from across the nation and can scroll through projects until one inspires them to donate. Donations can be anywhere from $1 to the full amount requested.

“It’s such a morale booster as a teacher to know people from around the nation gave to my classroom to help my students succeed,” Boyer said, smiling. “It gives me hope. It’s amazing.”

Since August, Boyer and nearly 20 other Perry teachers have received funding from various outlets for projects, classroom supplies and field trips.

Perry CDC Principal Sharine Buddin said she commends the donors for their contributions to her school, but thanks the teachers who go above and beyond for their classroom.

“There are wonderfully creative ways out there and I’m especially proud of our teachers that have done things like that because this is something they’re doing on their own personal time,” Buddin said. “It’s something we shared with the entire staff as an opportunity to look for funding for their special projects.”

There are 10 projects posted on for the Ypsilanti area.

Emma Jackson, YPS public relations director, said while the district doesn’t directly track the grants and donations teachers receive for their classrooms, she thinks more teachers are seeking additional funds than in previous years.

Superintendent Dedrick Martin said while the times might be tough, he is proud of the teachers going that extra mile for their students.

"It's a testament to the extraordinary teachers we have in Ypsilanti," Martin said. "It's also a reminder that people care. These teachers truly care, and the community truly cares. It's great."

Other teachers in the district are finding additional funding for projects as well. Ypsilanti High School science teacher Lakesha Barton has been working on a grant-funded community garden with her students since last year.

Barton said the 4-by-12 garden received donations for compost bins, gardening supplies and soil, including a $2,000 grant from Whole Foods in February. She said going the extra mile by searching for grants is well worth the work.

Barton applied for some grants through and said her students couldn’t be more appreciative of the help they’ve received over the last year.

“I had a great time and I can bond with classmates more,” YHS senior Daeja Raglin said. "We learned more about planting and gardening. It’s beautiful and more hands-on. It’s a great thing for us. We can give a lot back to our community with our crops.”

Barton said her class will be expanding the garden to include more fruits and vegetables and plans to donate some of the crops to the community.

“I can’t express how much appreciation I have for these organizations and people who donate," Barton said. "We're able to have a part in helping our community. To say it's really appreciated is an understatement.”

Contact reporter Danny Shaw at 734-623-2544 or


Tamara Craft Larson

Sun, Apr 8, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

My son had Krista as a teacher. I'm so glad he did. She's wonderful!


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

I just heard on the radio, I think it is Chase Bank that is telling people if you go to this one web site you can donate money to classrooms all across the country. Especially here in your local area. Not sure how it works, but check it out. I think it is a great idea.

Jeff Gaynor

Tue, Mar 20, 2012 : 2:30 a.m.

There continues to be people who fall for this? Even if it's technically true (perhaps there is a few cent donation per visit due to increased ad revenue) it amounts to hardly anything. Sure, click away and solve the world's problems! Sigh.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

I think this is very creative.... But we should not lose sight that 80-90% of the expenses for the school system are related to salary, medical care and pension. If there is a financial fix it has to involve those three factors.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

Now, that is simply ignorant. Not only are your stats wrong, but your logic is flawed. Makes me frustrated to know that teacher need to teach all children and then put up with parents like you. In this age where parents can shop for their education, I would be looking for a district that puts its finances in its most valuable resource. If that resource happens to be anything outside of the factors which directly impact my child, I'm not buying. Teachers are too important to be treated like chattel.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

So lets cut the pay and benefits of these hard working teachers. They deserve it. Why do we need to do this, because the Rickster cut $1 B from education this year and every year forward. Smaller government is great!


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Congrats to these and other teachers who are finding ways to fund projects for their students. I am going to GIVE!

Susan Montgomery

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.


Cindy Heflin

Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

That's been fixed. Thank you.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:05 p.m. it didn't notice that


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Still no fix...better proofreading needed. "Ypslianti Public Schools teachers finding ways to fund projects, additional supplies."


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

Huh??? Not sure if that is meant to be a compliment or a shot at Ypsi


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 11:09 a.m.

Sad that teachers have to go to these lengths to provide what the children they teach need in order to suceed. Maybe we should have public funding of education........oh wait, we do.


Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 10:38 a.m.

When I worked in an elementary school in the 70s, two of the parents from that school worked for Edward Brothers Printing. They used to bring in boxes of misprints (as long as the print was okay) and the teachers used the back side. Recycled paper that would normally be tossed out. Saved the school considerable funds.