Back-to-school preparations for parents this time of year involve buying new clothes, lunch boxes and the many supplies their children will need in class, such as pencils, folders, notebooks, glue sticks and calculators.
However, parents aren’t the only ones shelling out a chunk of change to prepare for the start of the school year. The Indiana State Teachers Association said nearly all teachers spend some of their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms, with the average about $500 per year. About 10 percent of teachers spend $1,000 or more, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association.
That’s a lot of money coming from teachers’ own pockets to have classrooms ready for students. That speaks to the financial pinches schools experience and the level of care and dedication teachers have about their profession and students.
State lawmakers tried to help this year by passing a tax credit for teachers to help offset the costs of the supplies they buy to set up their classrooms. Unfortunately, the tax credit was reduced from $200 to $100. That’s not much assistance.
We urge state lawmakers to reconsider that amount and pass a greater tax credit in the next legislative session.
Ideally, teachers shouldn’t be expected to spend their own income — money they need for groceries, bills or even their own children’s school supplies — to get their own classrooms prepared.
Since school funding statewide is up to the Indiana General Assembly, a larger tax credit would be a good next step to demonstrate the importance the state of Indiana places on education and in the teachers charged with helping our students learn.
Teachers often spend a great deal of personal funds on classroom supplies.
The legislature needs not only to restore a tax credit to the previous level but raise it.