Report: Teachers Spend $500 On Average For School Supplies


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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Teachers spend nearly $500 annually on school supplies, with a little less than 10 percent of them spending over $1,000 per year, according to a Tuesday report.

The National Center for Education Statistics found 94 percent of teachers pay out of their own wallets for school supplies — they doled out an average of $479 for the 2015 to 2016 school year — according to The Washington Post. Seven percent of teachers spend over $1,000 on materials for their classes.

“Teachers have been doing this from the beginning of time,” Grimes Elementary School teacher Teresa Danks told WaPo. “It’s just getting hard because the pay isn’t keeping up with the cost of living, and the need is getting greater and greater.”

Danks made headlines in 2017 for panhandling to pay for school expenses. But the teacher does not just buy crayons and glue; Danks expended several hundred dollars to buy winter clothes for one student and purchases birthday cupcakes for those whose parents cannot pay for them.

Elementary teachers spent $526 on average for school supplies and approximately $30 more if they worked at schools in which more than three-quarters of enrolled students are eligible for free meals. A 2002 congressional measure grants teachers a $250 tax deduction for items they attribute to supply spending. While Republicans have attempted to strike the deduction, Democrats want to expand the deductible amount to $500.

But teachers have not always supported donations to help fund school supplies, depending on the benefactor. The Washington (D.C.) Teachers’ Union objected to a 2016 contest, whose winning teachers would receive $490 to use for school supplies, because the sponsoring company, Walmart, had previously funded charter schools. (RELATED: DC Teachers Outraged Walmart Wants To Help Them)

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