The first week of school is upon us and while it's an exciting time, it’s also an expensive time for teachers who find themselves paying out of their pocket to set up classrooms and buy school supplies. So how much are they actually spending?
Learning Center is a hot spot for teachers looking to enhance their classroom and stock up on school supplies, but it comes at a cost.
“I see it first hand,” said Layla Quiroz, who works at Learning Center.
Teachers spending their own money is nothing new, but the amount educators are spending seems to go up every year.
“Oh gosh, I would say teachers spend anywhere between $200 to, I would venture to say, closer to $1,000,” Quiroz observed.
High school chemistry teacher Betty Morales has gone above and beyond that.
“Last year I spent about $2,500,” Morales recalled.
Some of that money is spent on technology that, she says, is vital. But then there’s all the little things that add up.
“Sugar, baking soda, vinegar, you'd be surprised how I walk out of HEB or Walmart with a big bill,” Morales said.
Statistically, it’s estimated that teachers spend about $500 per year. And the National School Supply and Equipment Association said that in 2013 teachers spent $1.6 billion.
“Sometimes you take in an extra job in the summer because I know I'm going to need some extra money for the supplies,” Morales said.
Shelley Potter of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel said that teachers will likely continue to pay out of pocket until districts receive more funding.
“If we had changes in the legislature, and we really addressed the inequities in school funding, I think that would be very helpful,” Potter said.
Teachers can claim a tax exemption, but it’s only $250.