CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois educators and school supporters have launched nearly 2,500 GoFundMe campaigns to help pay for classroom expenses since the fundraising site launched in 2010.
A new guidebook the company released Monday to help teachers decrease their out-of-pocket expenses shows Illinois educators have netted $1.2 million from more than 23,000 donations.
Money raised has gone toward class field trips, crayons, iPad keyboards, sports equipment, stickers and welcome bags with refillable water bottles, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Kanoon Magnet School teacher Blake Macdonald said he used GoFundMe in March to raise $515 to buy a variety of new, critically acclaimed young adult novels for each of his students.
"They're thrilled and love the books, and (they're) reading them when I'm not asking them to, which is a beautiful thing," said Macdonald, who shelled out some of his own money for the books as well.
The state's fundraising total puts it in seventh place after California, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Georgia. A GoFundMe spokesman said that campaigns for school expenses have increased in the last few years.
It's common practice for teachers to use their own funds to purchase classroom items. A 2015 report from market research company NPD Group showed that in a survey of nearly 1,000 teachers in the U.S., 91 percent used personal funds for school supplies such as cleaning products, notebooks, and arts and crafts materials.
The report said the teachers cover what students can't afford, spending about $500 over the school year.
Teachers also use DonorsChoose.org for donations for school purchases. More than $131,000 was raised for Chicago Public Schools classrooms so far this school year, according to the website's data.