Governor Roy Cooper launched an annual school supply drive in order to help students and teachers offset the costs of supplies that public schools require but do not provide.

The drive was announced at Pearson Elementary School in Durham on Tuesday, where Gov. Cooper spoke about how this unmet need can be a problem for teachers.

“Far too often, teachers are having to dip into their own pockets to cover the cost of classroom supplies. Supplies that their students need to learn,” Gov. Cooper said.

On average, teachers spend about $500 of their own money on supplies for their classrooms each year, and state funding for school supplies has been cut in half since 2008.

“One key here is we want to end these kinds of drives. What we want is a school system that provides what teachers and students need. But for now I’m going to encourage North Carolinians to help fill in the gap,” said Gov Cooper.

This need was covered in Gov. Cooper’s budget proposal, Common Ground Solutions for North Carolina, which was announced in March, and called for a $150 annual supply stipend for all North Carolina public school teachers to help offset the cost of purchasing supplies.

However, the budget passed by the North Carolina General Assembly did not include the teacher supply stipend.

The School Supply Drive will run from August 14 to September 8 and includes requests for:

• All types of paper
• Pens, pencils, and dry erase markers
• Spiral notebooks
• Tissues and sanitizing wipes

Donation Drop-offs can be made at State Employees Credit Union (SECU) branches, state government offices and businesses that partner with the North Carolina Business Committee on Education.

Communities In Schools of North Carolina chapters and AmeriCorps volunteers will distribute the supplies to school classrooms across the state after the drive.

North Carolina residents can also organize their own drive at their workplaces using the school supply drive kit. Instructions for supply collection can be found here.