‘It adds up’: Teacher out-of-pocket spending hits record high

As teachers prepare for the new school year, a survey reveals they are shopping for school supplies and digging deeper into their own pockets than ever before.

As teachers prepare for the new school year, they are shopping for school supplies and digging deeper into their own pockets than ever before.

“Surveys have shown that almost all teachers say they pay for classroom supplies without being reimbursed,” according to My eLearning World, an educator-focused publication.



Nationally, teachers will spend about $3 billion of their own money this year, My eLearning World reported. This represents an average of $820 per teacher.

“It’s not all at once, but it adds up throughout the school year,” said Karen Kraus, science teacher at Wheaton High School in Montgomery County, Maryland.

“It’s a few dollars here and a few dollars there.”

Teachers spend the most money on ‘non-consumable supplies’, including books and software.

Other items that teachers buy with their own money include classroom decoration, pencils, paper, folders, snacks and cleaning supplies.

Kraus said she typically spends between $700 and $1,000 on such items each year.

“A lot of people really don’t notice until you keep the receipts for the things you didn’t get reimbursed for and you go through those receipts and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’ “

According to My eLearning World, out-of-pocket expenses for teachers have steadily increased over the years, reaching an average of $750 per teacher in 2021.

Today, that number is the highest ever, up nearly 40% since 2015.

“Despite recent increases, the educator expense deduction is still not enough to cover the amount teachers have to spend, only allowing teachers to deduct up to $300 of classroom expenses when filing their returns. of federal revenue,” the publication reported.

Costs have risen so much that some teachers have turned to crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe to try and raise money for their classrooms.

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Norma A. Roth