By Ron Jones

NORTH HIGHLANDS (CBS13) – A local teacher fed up with budget cuts decided to take matters into her own hands.

The teacher at Frederick Joyce Elementary School in North Highlands say she realizes that California schools have been hit hard with cuts, but she says she’s using those cuts to be creative to get the students what they need.

“My first two years of teaching, there were no layoffs. We were fine,” Erin Tucker said.

Erin says teaching is her passion and it’s usually a lot more fun when you have the right amount of books and supplies.

She had more than enough several years ago, but not now.

“By the end of the year sometimes we’re running out of copy paper,” she said.

Since the cuts, not only is her elementary school struggling, but so are some of the parents and students. Some face homelessness and extreme poverty and the revolving foster care system.

But she won’t let them use that as an excuse for failure.

“I’m always trying to talk to them about the positives, then I need to lead by example,” she said.

She’s determined to expose them to literature such as Wilson Rawls’ classic “Where The Red Fern Grows.”

“I love this story,” she said. “I cry every time I read it.”

It’s about a poor adolescent boy determined to save what little money he has to buy the coonhounds of his dreams.

But there’s only one book for the entire class.

So now she’s asking for donations through a website organization called She needs about $350 to pull it off.

Her students appreciate her positive attitude and love for teaching.

“People really want to read and learn about stuff that people really don’t know,” sixth-grader Jose Medina said.

Mrs. Tucker says this is not the end. She says once she gets the books, she’s going to begin to focus on other supplies for her students.

“And so I’m not just going to sit here and say ‘woe is me’ and complain, I’m going to go and look for creative ways.”