Teachers spend big to provide classroom supplies

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – When you do your back to school shopping this year, you won’t be alone.

Teachers dig deep to cover the cost of supplies, spending $1.6 billion of their own money to outfit their classrooms, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.

According to a survey conducted by the association, nearly all respondents said they spent their own money on supplies and instructional materials for the classroom. On average, teachers reported spending $149 of their own money on supplies and nearly $200 on instructional materials last school year.

But check out some teacher forums on websites like Education Week, and you’ll see teachers can far exceed that amount with some spending up to $1,500 of their own money to supplement what’s available in the classroom.

At Henry A. Wise Jr. High School in Prince George’s County, incoming teachers are going through orientation this week. Two new middle school teachers told WTOP they expected to spend some of their own money getting their classrooms ready, but that veteran teachers told them to wait and see what resources are available within their assigned schools before hitting the stores.

Still, both said they’d be scouring local resources like Baltimore’s Book Thing, which recycles donated books by offering them for free to all-comers.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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