Lee Elementary teachers prep for class to resume after school caught fire

Fund is helping students of burned down school

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - The teachers, staff and students of Lee Elementary School are moving to nearby Lockhart Elementary and on Friday the teachers were allowed to start moving into their new classrooms.

It will be a much more crowded situation, with teachers sharing rooms, some with 39 to a class now. 

"We'll make it work. It'll be a little crazy in the beginning but our kids are good so I think we'll be able to handle it," says Erica Driver, a 12-year veteran who lost a lot of personal belongings in the fire at the historic school earlier this week. 

The school district is giving each of the 25 affected teachers a check for $1,000 to make up for the lost belongings, which includes personal desk items, books, and learning tools for the classroom.

RELATED: Three-alarm fire at Robert E. Lee Elementary school visible from I-275

"The county was very generous with the money they gave us to help rebuild our personal stuff," says Driver. "It wasn't a question of whether I would rebuild my stuff or not because I have to. Those are my children and I need that stuff."

To help those Lee Elementary teachers, the district filled Lockhart elementary's cafeteria on Friday with donated school supplies, allowing teachers to collect everything from tissues to paper to pens to notebooks.

After Hurricane Irma, and then the fire, Monday is expected to be an emotional day.

"I know we're going to have to talk about it, a lot of our kids had been at Lee since Kindergarten so all their awards all their projects done over the years were at that schools so I know there's going to be a lot of heartbroken kids," says Driver/

The Hillsborough Education Foundation established a relief fund to help students at Lee Elementary School after the school caught fire on Tuesday.

Tax-deductible donations will go towards the replenishment of books, supplies and other essentials needed for the school's 329 students and 25 teachers.

Needed supplies include #2 pencils, pencil boxes/cases, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, spiral notebooks, composition books, wide-ruled notebook paper, glue sticks, scissors, construction paper, poster boards, pocket folders, index cards, binders, dividers, dry-erase markers, washable markers, highlighters, calculators, post-it notes, tissue and hand sanitizer.

If you wish to contribute school supplies, they can be dropped off at the following locations: 

Hillsborough County School District Warehouse
5715 E. Hanna Ave.
Tampa, FL 33610
Time: Thursday and Friday, 9/14 and 9/15, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Hillsborough Education Foundation
2306 N. Howard Ave.
Tampa, FL 33607
Time: Thursday and Friday, 9/14 and 9/15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 9/16, 9 a.m. to noon.

Once Lee Elementary is fully supported with the supplies they need, any remaining dollars and supplies will go toward supporting students in need at other Title I schools.

To donate, click here.

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