TN Teachers Paying for Classroom Supplies on Their Own

According to an online survey of nearly 1,000 Tennessee teachers, reported by the Commercial Appeal, 36 percent said they spend between $251 to $500 on classroom supplies, including work sheets, handouts and other materials they need to teach class.
Among PreK-2 teachers, that percentage jumped to 42 percent. Nearly 6 percent said they spend more than $1,000 a year.
“A lot of teachers just eat the expense,” said J.C. Bowman, a former teacher and executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, which released the survey last week. “People don’t realize how much they care and how much money they spend out of their own pocket just to do their job.”
Teachers in Shelby County Schools get $200 for classroom extras, but $100 is pooled at each school for laminating film, copy paper, chalk, file folders, scissors and other staples, including staples.
…To get a sense of how far $200 goes, Andy Gattas, who owns four Knowledge Tree stores in the metro area, says a kit to decorate a standard 4- by 6-foot bulletin board sells for $12.
“The teacher will probably need another $8 to $10 in supplies to finish it out. This is one decoration she would leave up for about a month. That’s not counting supplies; there’s no stapler, highlighters, pens, pencils.”
PET sent the results to legislators, hoping that “when they look at the BEP (Basic Education Program) formula, they will increase the amount of money teachers can use for in-house resources,” Bowman said.
“We’re saying, here’s an issue; are you aware?”
Often, the principal siphons teacher supply funds to invest in a new curriculum, said Gattas. “It’s nothing evil; there’s no misappropriation, but (teachers) don’t get all the money.”
Eighty percent of Knowledge Tree sales here come directly from teachers’ wallets, Gattas said
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