Washington, D.C., Public Schools administrators are giving teachers $200 gift cards to use for purchasing classroom supplies.
The program helps reduce out-of-pocket expenses for teachers who buy supplies to decorate or equip their classrooms for students.
Teachers nationwide are expending an increasing amount of personal cash to outfit their rooms or students with supplies, according to a series of private surveys by school supply marketers and vendors. The average teacher spent almost $500 out-of-pocket last year, according to the Education Market Association report.
The costs are particularly impactful in the D.C.-area, where housing and transportation costs are high, according to Frederick County Public Schools teacher union President Missy Dirks.
“Teachers are buying glue sticks, paper, pencils and tissues," Dirks said. "These are things that are essential. And they’re doing it year after year. It doesn’t matter if they’re a new teacher or a 30-year veteran. They’re spending money on their students.”
The News4 I-Team is researching how much money local school teachers spent to begin the 2017-2018 school year. They’re also looking into the range of supplies and items teachers purchased out-of-pocket.
If you are a school teacher, please take the brief survey below. If you know of a local school teacher, please send this survey to him or her to complete. Teachers need not leave their name on the survey.