- The Washington Times
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Something to ponder as the nation’s school year gets underway. For some of the principal players, it can be an expensive time.

Teachers are spending their own money to buy classroom supplies, and nine out of 10 will not be reimbursed, according to survey data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

“The nation’s kindergarten through 12th-grade public school teachers shell out, on average, $459 on school supplies for which they are not reimbursed. This figure does not include the dollars teachers spend but are reimbursed for by their school districts. The $459-per-teacher average is for all teachers, including the small (4.9%) share who do not spend any of their own money on school supplies,” the Economic Policy Institute says in its analysis of the data.

Teachers in California spend the most at $664 each, followed by Hawaii ($561), Arizona ($552), New Mexico ($545), Rhode Island ($538), Washington, D.C., ($527), Delaware ($507), Alaska ($496), Maryland ($492) and New York ($480) — to round out the top-10.

Teachers in high-poverty schools spend more of their own money than teachers in low-poverty schools — reflecting “the greater needs of their students and more deficient funding systems” the analysis said.

“It’s likely that if you meet a teacher in the checkout line as she or he is purchasing these supplies, the emotion you will see is excitement to welcome students back to the classroom and start a new year of learning. But unreimbursed spending could be seen as one more of many factors weighing on teachers and potentially affecting perceptions of the teaching profession, teacher recruitment, and teacher retention,” the nonprofit think tank noted in its analysis.

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