Back to School: Teachers spend hundreds, even thousands out of pocket on supplies

Everything you see in your child’s classroom costs money.

"Our school actually provides us a little bit of classroom money at the beginning of the year," said Carol Withrow, second grade teacher at Morgan Elementary. "They give us $50 so that we can go to the Learning Railroad and get desk tags and locker tags."

Withrow has been teaching for 20 years, and she still drops hundreds on her classroom every year on top of that $50.

"I don’t really know of any teacher who doesn’t put their heart, soul, and part of their paycheck back into the profession," said Withrow.

Every school is different. Kim Carper teaches kindergarten at Reidland Elementary.

"Probably this year I’ve spent close to a thousand dollars," Carper confessed. She said it’s on supplemental items and that her school provides the basics needed to teach.

Between city and county schools, and the school-based decision making counsel, there is no set budget for teacher supplies. It can vary for every school.

Withrow’s advice to new teachers is to be smart with their money. She lives by recycle and reuse. "This would cost $20 in a regular store and 50 cents in a thrift store," she said about her books. She has a mini-library in her room that she’s acquired over 20 years of teaching.

Carper said spending that money can seem silly to people, but it’s the little things that make your little one love where they learn.

"I just want my room to feel like home for my students," Carper said. "I take a lot of pride in my room looking nice and being a welcoming place."

It’s a warm, yet expensive, welcome back to school.

Many schools have a Family Resource Center where you can drop off donations for teachers and students. These teachers said they appreciate any help they can get, especially with items like hand sanitizer and band aids.

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