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Most Teachers Buying School Supplies with Their Own Money [AUDIO]

Parents are not the only ones doing back to school shopping, teachers are also hitting the stores to buy supplies for their classrooms, and paying largely out of their own pocket.

Tim Boyle, Getty Images

A study from the National School Supply and Equipment Association finds 99.5 percent of teachers reported using their own money on school supplies, teaching equipment, and/or classroom materials.

On average, teachers spent $485 dollars out of their own money in the 2012-2013 school year, including $149 on school supplies, $198 on instructional material, and $138 on classroom supplies.

Wendell Steinhauer, President of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), says the economy is causing school districts and families to their belts. However, teachers are still tasked with the same job.

“It’s easy to say cut, cut, cut, cut, but eventually you’ve got to be able to buy a pencil.”

While teachers are given a certain amount for classroom supplies, Steinhauer points usually that number is very inadequate and covers only a small fraction of supplies needed.

“When I left [teaching], they would allot you $100 for paper and pencils for the entire year. I taught high school with 30 kids a class, you had 150-170 students.”

He says that with more technology in the classrooms, any available money districts have is going towards big ticket items, such as smart boards, tablets, projectors. Meanwhile, it’s the common supplies teachers are often left in need of.

“Paper, pencils, scissors, construction paper, protractors; it’s all that kind of stuff.”

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