Do Most Teachers Spend Their Own Money on Classroom Supplies?

Nearly every public school teacher in America spends his or her own money to cover the cost of some school supplies, according to the results of a 2018 Department of Education survey. The survey found that 94 percent of teachers paid for notebooks, writing utensils, markers, and other basic supplies -- without reimbursement -- during the 2014-15 school year. About 7 percent of the teachers surveyed said that they spent in excess of $1,000 USD of their own money, but the average annual expenditure was $479. Current federal tax laws allow teachers to claim an annual $250 deduction for unreimbursed classroom supplies purchases.

Educational expenses:

  • The amount of money spent by teachers depended on where they worked. For example, teachers at charter schools tended to spend less of their own money.

  • In schools where 75 percent or more of the students participated in free or reduced-price lunch programs, teachers tended to spend more -- $554 a year, on average.

  • Elementary school teachers spent more of their own money than secondary school teachers, the survey found. Likewise, teachers in cities spent more than their counterparts in suburban and rural schools.

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More Info: Reuters

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