OKLAHOMA CITY - Teachers spend a lot of money out of their own pockets for their classrooms. But after a local contractor witnessed firsthand what a huge financial toll it takes, he along with a newly elected state representative decided to help.

“Project Classroom” provides money for school supplies for new teachers who commit to teaching in Oklahoma inner city and rural schools. The project’s founders handed out the first $500 check on Monday to Roxanne Herbert. She is a brand new fifth grade teacher at Arthur Elementary.

About an hour later, Cesar Chavez Elementary teacher Tiffany Hill got the same surprise.

Contractor Chris Burnett forked over money for the first two awards. He was inspired to start the foundation a couple months ago after he was standing in line behind a teacher buying a cart full of school supplies.

“The cashier got about halfway down through the cart and the teacher was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ almost in tears [when she] finally realized she miscalculated somehow. And she didn’t have enough money in her own savings account to pay for her own school supplies,” recalled Burnett.

Burnett paid for her supplies. Then, he contacted Sherrie Conley, a former Oklahoma City School teacher, about starting the “Legacy Foundation.”

“We’ve got teachers going into classrooms making very little money. Some with student loans. And they’re having to decorate their classrooms by themselves,” said Conley.

If you want to donate to the foundation, you can email Chris Burnett at cburnett@projectclassrooms.org.