I would like to add my support to what Jen had to say regarding this issue. We ALL supplement our budgets by seeking and utilizing donated materials. The real issue here, as it is in many school districts across this nation, is the continuing low priority the arts have as part of the education of our children. Visual art teachers are still regarded as an enrichment activity, or as one of my principals stated, "something fun for the kids to get them ready for REAL learning"! Ask any other teacher in virtually any other discipline, and you will rarely find anyone spending their spare time begging and cajoling businesses or individuals for the raw materials they need to teach with.
All of this is continuing to happen in districts all over the place, in spite of research that directly links success in school to visual art experiences. I have stated this before: It is time for art educators to stop apologizing for being art teachers, and start more aggressive advocating for their chosen field. It is beginning to appear that it is easier and less uncomfortable for some of you out there to simply find a way around it by being "more creative" than to confront head-on the obvious marginalizing of what you do for kids every day. If you are dedicated to your chosen profession you will do something about it--that is, unless you believe you aren't all that important either. Remember, it is also easier for an administrator to remind you how lucky you are to even have a job, even though you as an art educator should have the attitude that they are lucky to have you on the faculty!