The city of Rock Hill plans to pitch in to help teachers buy school supplies.
A portion of ticket sales for the Little River Band rock concert on Wednesday will go to educators in Rock Hill schools to make up for supply money that was taken from them to help plug holes in the district's budget.
Also, any teacher who buys one of the $35 tickets, gets a second free. Teachers of the year from Rock Hill schools will be recognized during a ceremony before the band performs.
"We thought, 'Hey, wouldn't it be great to boost their morale ... and raise money for their classroom supplies,'" downtown events manager Candy Clapp said. "It's just showing teachers, 'Hey, we do care about y'all. You're important.'"
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Until this year, South Carolina sent teachers a $275 check annually to buy supplies.
Over the summer, the state gave districts permission to use that money for other things. The York, Fort Mill and Rock Hill school districts all did so. Clover schools originally planned to do the same, but later opted not to.
To help offset the loss of supply money, the Rock Hill school board voted to charge families $25 to enroll a student.
Local school districts have been cutting deep to make budget in the face of ongoing shortfalls in state money. Employees in York, Fort Mill and Rock Hill schools are all required to take several days of unpaid leave in the coming school year. Others have lost jobs.
"I feel like my position has been saved because of the cuts," said Paulette Hallman, an Oakdale Elementary second grade teacher.
Hallman is one of several teachers in the district affected by several budget cuts. In addition to five days of unpaid leave, she lost the $3,000 annual bonus given to teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and as a working retiree, her pay was cut 15 percent.
The supply money from the state was a big help for Hallman, who said she spent it on things like a video about George Washington crossing the Delaware River, field trips and plants for the garden she uses to teach science.
It also helped to buy basic supplies for children whose families can't afford them, she said.
Hallman is excited about the concert and plans to go.
"It is wonderful that our city leadership has chosen to get behind us in this way," she said. "That is a tremendous validation of what we do."
The show starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday - which is also Rock Hill teachers' first furlough day.
Want to go?
Area teachers will be honored at the Little River Band concert, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Old Town Amphitheater off Black Street in downtown Rock Hill.
Tickets for Teachers
K-12 teachers who buy one ticket for $35 get one free as part of the Tickets for Teachers program. Buy tickets at the city's Economic and Urban Development office, Rock Hill schools' district office or at the Little River Band concert.
Classroom supplies fund
The Old Town Association is donating 10 percent of each regularly priced ticket sold toward a fund to purchase classroom supplies. Additionally, the group is collecting cash to donate to the school district and be distributed to teachers.
The band Cloud 9 will open the show at 7 p.m. with the teacher recognition ceremony taking place at about 8 p.m. The Little River Band will take the stage at 8:15 p.m.
It's the last of the city's outdoor concert series for this year.
Details: Call 803-329-8756 or visit onlyinoldtown.com.