Minnesota teacher uses $4,000 inheritance for student laptops

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FOX 9 has the story of veteran Minnesota teacher of 30 years Tracy Gripentrog, who recently spent $4,000 she had inherited from her parents on laptop computers.

The money was enough to pay for 15 Chromebook computers for her students at Willow Lane Elementary School in White Bear Lake.

Gripentrog's father died a few years ago, and her mother passed away in May. "They always supported everything I did," Gripentrog said of her parents.

"It shows her dedication to her class and she wants to make a difference with every student," Principal Brendon Schwirtz said.

Teachers have a long history of using their own money to pay for classroom materials. A growing number of teachers are spending more of their own money for school supplies, USA Today reported last month.

Three quarters of the teachers in a June 2013 Horace Mann survey spent more than $100 of their own money on classroom supplies, and 30 percent spent from $200 to $400.

Fifty-three percent of teachers in the survey said their classroom budgets had been cut, and 44 percent said their salaries had been frozen.

The average Minnesota teacher salary for 2010-11 was $53,680, according to Education Minnesota. The state ranked 19th among states for teacher pay. First-year teachers in Minnesota start at $33,000, according to the teachers union group.

The U.S. average public school teacher salary for 2011–12 was $55,418, according to the National Education Association.

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