No More Pencils, No More Books: Teachers Paying More Out of Pocket for School Supplies

No More Pencils, No More Books: Teachers Pay More Out of Pocket for School Supplies - BabbleThink you’re spending a ton on school supplies this year? Cringing when you look at that supply list, and wondering why each year more things seem to be added to the list? Consider how much teachers are spending — on school supplies for their own kids and their students.

Teachers are paying more out of pocket to fill the gap left by budget cuts, says a new survey. As budgets are slashed for classroom supplies, class sizes are increasing, resulting in even more supplies needed. This is particularly tough for teaches in a time of salary freezes, the survey found.

According to the survey, 30 percent of teachers will spend between $201-$400 to pay for general classroom supplies or to fund class projects. Thirteen percent will spend between $401-$600, and another 13 percent will spend over $600. Only 2 percent of teachers said that all their classroom projects were paid for by budgets or other sources, such as parent contribution.

More than 80 percent of teachers said they had to abandon classroom projects due to lack of funding.

Among the lowlights of the survey:

  • 60% of teachers reported increased class size
  • 53% reported budget cuts for classroom supplies
  • 44% reported salary freezes
  • 38% reported reduced funding for professional development
  • 38% reported downsized/laid off teaching positions
  • 38% reported downsized/laid off classroom support staff
  • 32% reported reduced employee benefits

All that can add up to a major hit in the pocketbook for classroom teachers. So, how can we help? The survey also asked teachers for the best ways that community organizations or individuals can get involved. Among the top answers:

  • Donate technology tools or provide technology grants
  • Donate classroom supplies or funds for classroom supplies
  • Read to students/provide tutoring or mentoring
  • Create extracurricular activities for students (such as field trips, work/study programs, volunteer programs)
  • Improve school buildings or grounds

Student involvement was also cited as a great way to make schools safer, nicer looking, and more conducive to learning. Programs that have students do general tidying/cleaning, such as picking up trash, plant gardens, work with younger students, and beautify the building, were all mentioned as great ways to teach students about personal responsibility.

The survey was conducted by Horace Mann, an insurance company that provides services to educators.

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

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