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How Much Do Teachers Spend on School Supplies?

This Is How Much the Average Teacher Spends on School Supplies – From Their Own Wallets

If you think that your child's school pays for school supplies, not only are you wrong, but you probably owe your kid's teacher an apology . . . and maybe even a Target gift card.

According to a new report prepared by the National Center For Education Statistics, nearly all public school teachers pay for classroom necessities – pencils, crayons, construction paper, notebooks, and other items – out of their own pockets. Of the 94 percent of teachers who do so, they spend an average of $479 each year. Approximately 7 percent of teachers spend more than $1,000 a year. Those numbers are far more than the federal $250 tax deduction available to teachers, which amounts to a savings of roughly $30 to $60 annually.

The federal report also noted that above high school teachers, elementary school teachers bear the brunt of the costs, averaging $526. The same could be said for teachers in city schools versus those in suburban or rural districts. Still, the biggest spenders are those teaching at schools with more poverty. At schools where more than three quarters of students qualify for free meals, educators spent $554 annually.

These findings come as teachers nationwide – particular in Oklahoma and Arizona – have protested their low pay and need for more support. Whether these statistics change the course of public policy is yet to be seen, but until then, it's worth it for parents to be informed of what resources their school provides versus what is coming out of a teacher's wallet.

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