MDR recently published an article entitled, “Beyond Back-to-School Spending: Teachers Spend All Year Long”. The article discusses how teachers are spending more and more of their own money on materials for their classrooms. It also mentions that lots of schools are continuing to push the AmazonSmile program. The fact that just about all teachers spend their own money on basic items for their classrooms such as pencils, erasers, dry erase markers, tissues, etc. probably doesn’t surprise anyone, but how much they are spending just might. MDR polled close to 4,000 educators and found that 44% said they have spent over $500 this school year. Several commented that they will spend well over that by the end of this school year. Considering that in some states the average salary for teachers starting out is as low as $32,000, that’s a pretty big hit to their budgets. In James’ article she states that over the past decade teacher out-of-pocket spending has increased 27%.
“We also know that teachers don’t just spend one lump-sum at the beginning of the school year. They continue buying supplies throughout the year to replenish necessary resources, decorate for the holidays, and integrate fresh ideas into their lessons.” -Kristina James, Marketing Leader at MDR
There are still a few school districts that offer their teachers an annual discretionary stipend. For example, the teachers in the Chicago Public School District receive $250 for the entire school year. However, that type of funding seems to be shrinking or even disappearing. In fact, 32% of teachers surveyed said they receive no budget and another 20% receive less than $100 per year.
“Yet, teachers are determined to provide their students with the resources they need to have the best possible learning experience. So, they spend their own money, and if they are especially resourceful, do some fundraising/crowdsourcing to make up the shortfall.” – Kristina James, Marketing Leader at MDR
In some cases, teachers don’t mind spending their own money to spruce up their classrooms because to them it’s worth every penny. In fact, one Massachusetts teacher said she used her own money to turn her 86-year-old classroom into a hip, urban oasis.
It looks like the trend of teachers spending their own personal funds is only going to increase. In fact, James reports that almost all teachers (87%) said they will spend the same amount or more out-of-pocket during this school year.
To read James’ article in full, click here.