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Out of Pocket

Bojan Tezaki/Stockphoto<br />
Bojan Tezaki/Stockphoto

As if teacher salaries aren’t low enough, a new report details how teachers often foot the bill for their own classroom supplies. According to “Teacher Buying Behavior 2006–2007” from Quality Education Data Inc. (QED), K–12 teachers spend an average of $475 per year on materials for the classroom.

Elementary teachers spend a significantly higher amount ($539) compared with middle ($393) and high ($427) school teachers.
Most teachers use their personal money to purchase student rewards (85%), materials for classroom decoration (75%), and professional materials (59%). But they use school funds to procure software for the classroom (61%) and workbooks (74%).
The majority of teachers (63%) say they don’t expect to see a change over the next few years in their own and their principal’s involvement in the purchasing process for classroom items. Nearly one-fifth of the teachers (18%) think that their influence will increase over the next few years.

According to more than half of the respondents (54%), at least some of the students in their schools receive donated school supplies provided by local charities.

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