Here’s how a simple conversation led to business owner donating new calculators, supporting gas tax increase

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — For teachers, yearly allowances given by school districts or school administration can be spread thin, leaving teachers either without needed supplies or a dent in their own savings. One Iron County teacher is grateful to a Utah resident for stepping up and helping her with an item her class needed.

As the 2018-19 school year started, Chelsee Robinson, a math teacher at Cedar Middle School, was faced with a decision of continuing to use the set of 29 “old, beat-up” calculators – despite having 36 students in her class – or using her own money to fund a new set of calculators for her class.

“Sometimes my kids will come to class, and there wouldn’t be enough for everyone,” Robinson told St. George News. “It’s like, ‘Who gets calculators and who doesn’t?’

Robinson said she has a yearly allowance of $250. The calculators she needed for her class cost approximately $10-14 each, amounting to more than $450 total for a new set.

Although she said teachers’ budgets can be spread thin, Robinson doesn’t blame her administration, adding that Cedar Middle has an excellent principal who “does everything she can with what she has.”

“I believe if she had the money,” Robinson said, “she would have gave it to me in a heart beat.”

This scenario is one of the reasons why Robinson said she’s voting in favor of Non-binding Opinion Question 1 – commonly referred to as “Proposition 1” – during the 2018 midterm elections.

The ballot question is asking voters if they agree with increasing the gas tax by about 10 cents per gallon to fund education and local roads, according to Ballotpedia. Depending on the results, the legislature would have to pass another bill to enact the proposed tax, since the question is meant to assess voter opinion.

A conversation regarding the proposed increase is how Robinson said she stumbled upon a $450 check for her new set of calculators. Robinson said the issue came up when she was talking with a friend of a friend.

Salt Lake City resident Chelsea Carroll, owner of a consignment chain store that carries children’s apparel, shoes, gear and toys, asked Robinson what she did for a living. After learning she was a teacher, Carroll was asking about Question 1 and whether or not she should vote for it.

After Robinson explained what Question 1 is and why she was going to voting for it, the math teacher shared her dilemma of needing calculators for her class as an example of why voting yes would help more teachers in situations like hers.

“She just wrote me a check right then and said, ‘Just take care of it,'” Robinson said, adding that Carroll said she would vote yes on Question 1.

Carroll told St. George News that she and her husband made the donation because she could tell Robinson felt discouraged.

After listening to the teacher’s situation, Carroll ultimately decided that Kid to Kid stores, the chain founded by her mother, had a little extra money because of their fall season.

I would rather have the kids have their calculators than take that money home,” she said. “That’s one of the privileges of being a small business owner is that you can reach out and help your community when needed.”

Robinson felt overwhelmed that somebody she just met could be so nice.

“It’s not her kids,” she said. “She doesn’t even live in this county, so her kids don’t even benefit.”

While Robinson could have bought cheaper calculators, she said she wanted a specific TI model for her seventh graders because it’s the calculator they can use throughout high school and will need for the ACT exam in 11th grade.

“I like to train them on it young so that there’s no confusion later on and that they’re not switching calculators just because of funding,” she said.

Carroll said she thinks the school systems need to find a better way of prioritizing teachers’ needs.

“I can’t fathom that in the United States, where we have so many resources, that we don’t prioritize our educational system enough to give teachers the very small things they need to do their jobs with excellence,” Carroll said.

Email: mheckenliable@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @markeekaenews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • DRT October 19, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Geeze, why do they need calculators? For the love of God, teach them to use mathematics! Hell, teach them to count on their fingers and if they have a real tough problem, to take off their shoes and count their toes! 😉

    • KR567 October 19, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Really ? ……you need to wake up

      • DRT October 20, 2018 at 12:37 pm

        If someone needs to explain the winking smiley face to you, you likely won’t get it anyway.
        Probably a “teacher?”
        (No offense meant to the good and dedicated teachers out there that actually have a brain.)

  • utahdiablo October 19, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    You can buy calculators at the Dollar store, hell I still use mine that I’ve had for 15 years!….as to the 10 cent per gallon Gas Tax, not just No, But Hell No….my property taxes have already gone up over $200 a year all in the last two years for the school district, and more than half of my entire tax bill goes to the school district as it is, where the hell is the money going to? …Record housing permits and not using the impact fee’s you should be collecting?

  • jaltair October 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Question, if the TI calculator is needed through the SATs, why isn’t it the parent’s responsibility to purchase this calculator?

    NO to Prop 1 …

    The number one problem with public education is “fat floats to the top.” All government bureaucracy is the same. Education isn’t exempt. Taxpayers can’t continue to support inefficiency in government.

  • Tim October 19, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    There is a simple reason why the gas tax for education is wrong. It forces one group (drivers) to pay for something unrelated to the groups activity. People that don’t drive much get a free pass on supporting education. Wrong in many ways.

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