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Short on funds, schools in Houston looking for donors through crowdfunding- report

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(Credit: Reuters) Students take their seats for the diploma ceremony at the John F. Kennedy School of Government during the 361st Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 24, 2012.Students take their seats for the diploma ceremony at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
January 20
7:47 AM 2014

When Coach Brittany Staggs wanted to buy equipment worth $800 that would enable her students to get a workout even when it's pouring outside, the School at St. George Place turned to crowdfunding, the Associated Press reported. In just a month, the school was able to get a Wii, dance video games and projection technology and the students were able to exercise to well-known Disney tunes in the school's cafeteria.

The report said crowdfunding is already taking root in schools in the Houston area albeit using the Internet to raise money has become painfully slow. Donorschoose.org is the biggest of the education-focused crowdfunding sites. However, even if it was established in 2000, only early adopters have leveraged on the power of the crowdfunding site for public schools in need of cash. Experts attribute this to the reluctance of teachers to undertake the effort and the discomfort they feel about using the platform, the report said.

The School at St. George Place was already able to raise $43,000 worth of supplies since it has started to use the donorschoose.org platform in August 2012, doing away with the need to gather funds through labor-intensive activities like car washing and hosting spaghetti dinners, the report said.

St. George Place Principal Adam Stephens told AP, "It's 2014. Technology is here. This is a great resource, and this is free, to get right down to the nitty-gritty." He said that teachers can make proposals with little risk and even corporate giants like Chevron and Kia would give matching funds.

According to experts, the evolution of fundraising in public education couldn't have come at a better time, the report said. Data from the US Census Bureau showed that in the public education sector, per-student spending dropped nationally in 2011 for the first time since the data was tracked in 1977. Texas Education Agency data showed that funding in Texas declined from $6,656 per student in 2001 to $6,559 in 2011, the report said.

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