A couple’s buying-and-selling website is teachers’ dream come true.
Cheryl and Edward Shane launched hootofloot.com in 2010.
Many teachers expect to reach into their own pockets to help cover the cost of school supplies, but these days the financial burden is heavier amid budget cuts around the country. Public schools statewide absorbed $74.4 million in funding cuts last fiscal year, according to Oklahoma Watch. Many Oklahoma teachers expect to spend hundreds of dollars — unreimbursed — on school supplies. Most teachers in Tulsa spend $500 to $1,000 or more out-of-pocket annually for student and classroom supplies, with many spending much more, according to the Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association.
But the giving attitude, while commendable, isn’t always practical for teachers with a modest income.
In 2008, Edward and Cheryl Shane noticed an absence in the market for a site to sell and buy school supplies. Two years later they founded Hoot of Loot — hootofloot.com, a classified ad website for educators.
Cheryl, a fifth-grade teacher, has been teaching for almost 17 years in various Oklahoma schools.
“My husband and I came up with the idea for Hoot of Loot when I was sorting through my teaching supplies in storage, needing to purge some items, some of which were very costly at the time,” Cheryl says.
Hoot of Loot was launched with the hope of helping teachers get the classroom supplies they need. Instructors have the opportunity to register and create a free account. The site has more than 30 product categories to post ads. Teachers can buy anything from a remote control projection screen to reading games, skeleton models and puppet theaters.
“Teachers always have so many education related items they acquire over the years and providing a place to unload no-longer-needed items seemed like a win-win situation,” Cheryl says.
The website was rebuilt in December 2015. Without a large advertising budget, Facebook became the main traffic source. Since January 2016, Hoot of Loot gained over 25,000 likes on Facebook.
“As the site continues to grow, we hope to reach many more educators through word of mouth, sharing our posts, or tagging their colleagues to check out our site,” Cheryl says.