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School Supply Money
Old 07-14-2015, 12:49 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this is a vent, or just an observation.

I was talking with a few teacher friends last night about spending money on our classrooms. We all kind of mentioned that we have no problem spending money on non-consumable things that we could take with us if we left (books, baskets, organizational things, games, etc) but we do have a huge problem spending money on consumables.

I don't feel like I should be supplying basics to my class. If the parents don't want to send them in, fine, but I'm not going to cover the slack. I'm not making any more than many of our families and have similar financial obligations. Why should I damage my budget anymore than they should damage theirs to buy pencils, paper, etc?

Am I alone in thinking this? I keep seeing all these comments about people going out and buying glue and pencils and such...and I just can't afford to do it.


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Old 07-14-2015, 01:16 PM
 
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I have never understood this. Before joining PT, I had no idea that it was the norm in most parts of the US. I spend plenty of money, but it is usually things that I can keep...the "extras" that I want to add to the room, or supplies for a specific craft or season.

We have a supply room stocked with crayons, pencils, paper, construction paper, paint, glue, notebooks, chart paper, etc. If something runs out, we let the admin know and it is re-ordered. We do not send out supply lists like I read about here. Parents usually buy their kids markers and pencil crayons, but they do not need to.

As a parent, I have things at home that my child would need for homework etc. I would not expect the school to supply that. As my son got older, I bought calculators, and math sets.

I agree with you. Teachers should not be expected to buy supplies. What other job demands this? Does the school secretary buy her own message pads? Schools should be supplying these necessities, and if not, then parents. If they can't, or in some cases, won't, then admin should have to deal with it. Not the teachers. I would not/could not do it. I would not be spending my summer vacation running around to Staples, Office Depot, Target or WalMart trying to get the best deal.
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Supplies
Old 07-14-2015, 01:35 PM
 
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We collect supply fees per student. Should student not be able to pay there are community groups that help cover them.
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Old 07-14-2015, 02:04 PM
 
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I only spend money like that if I get an outrageous deal-like Elmer's glue sticks for 10 cents.
I like my own fresh set of Crayola markers and am picky about pens for myself. I like a matched set of writing folders so might spend 10 cents each on a set of red ones. So perhaps $10 a year?
I only buy what makes me happy or feel more in control/less anxious. Even library books that I would take with me are mostly free with Scholastic points or on the clearance shelf at Half Price Books. I don't even go to the library for books anymore because if lost or late I would have to pay the fine. If my school librarian doesn't have it I let her order it from the public library under the school's name.
In fact, this year I am going to send a note letting them know what supplies their child lacks. They will sign it and return the note. I can't make you send them, but you will acknowledge that you know the supplies are needed.
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Old 07-14-2015, 02:27 PM
 
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Luckily, my current school has a supply cabinet that teachers are free to take from. It covers all the basics like pencils, paper, crayons, glue, dry erase markers, etc. However, at a previous school the school didn't provide anything for us and I often found myself buying basic supplies. At one point, I did stop buying dry erase markers (I was having the kids use them with individual whiteboards all of the time) because although I liked that activity, it wasn't necessary. However, it's not like I can run a class without pencils, and if school/students won't supply them, what do you do?


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$$$
Old 07-14-2015, 03:40 PM
 
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This is hot button for many teachers and parents.

In my view, a teacher can spend his or her $$$ on anything they wish. It's their money and their business.

Personally, I choose not bankroll school supplies for other people's children. Actually, that's not quite true. My husband and I assist our two children in compiling one backpack each filled with a list of requested school supplies and donate it to my husband's church mission. They give them to children in the community who need them. My children use part of their own allowance to help. It is a family activity we do every year.

I am given a budget from the local office supply store with whom our district has an account. I am very thrify and know how to make it stretch. I haven't had to order pencils in about 3 years. I have two shelves loaded with them, some are new in the box, others are in great condition that I've picked up all over the place. With rare exception, I only order copy paper (I need a lot), dry erase markers, highlighters, and misc folders.

As for decor, yeah, I've spent some $$ in my day. If I can't walk into my room and feel like it is clean, inviting, and organized, I'm unhappy. I decorate cheaply, but I pay for it all myself.

You're not alone. I agree with you. As a mom, I would be beating the streets collecting pencils and pens from banks, businesses, churches, friends-- anyone who would be willing to help me if I didn't have the $$. That being said, I think some of the requested supply lists are excessive, but that's just me. My students need a pencil, highlighter, dry erase marker, and a good eraser to learn. Parents really only have to come up with a backpack, and even then, the local prison inmates have a work program and they use their earnings to buy backpacks in the fall and coats in the winter for needy children. I have enough in my budget to provide basics for them all year, but not enough to replenish it if they are wasteful.
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My opinion
Old 07-14-2015, 04:06 PM
 
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Is I spend my money on things that make my life easier, makes me feel more in control in class. For instance, last winter, Amazon had Elmers glue sticks on sale for .30 each, so I bought a package because I like to have Elmers glue sticks for projects because it works better than the cheap stuff. The same goes for markers, I will buy the crayola brand because I like the kids to use them. They last longer, and look nicer...in my opinion.

I don't buy pencils, erasers, etc...but I do order those in my order. Our school won't let me save a big part of my budget to spend on back to school sales like I would like. I can't stomach paying 3.97 for a pack of Crayola markers when I can buy exactly the same markers for .30-.50 during back to school sales!
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Old 07-14-2015, 06:17 PM
 
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No teacher should have to buy basics for their class. That should be provided by the schools in some way. It's a tragedy when a school expects it's teachers to provide basic supplies.

At my previous school we had a supply closet we could access whenever we needed something. In my current school they give us $200 a year to spend on whatever we need and they also supply us with things like copy paper, pencils, etc. We also send home a supply list to help keep the costs down. I choose to spend some of my allotment during back to school sales because I know it's a tremendous help to our supply budget, and some things (folders, pencil boxes) I like to have the same for every student. So I am spending money right now, but it will get reimbursed in the fall. There are also some consumables from Lakeshore that I love to use, so I buy those as well. And the rest usually goes to something for the classroom that can be reused. I feel very fortunate that we have a yearly budget for our individual needs!
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buying supplies
Old 07-14-2015, 06:36 PM
 
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I feel that parents (or teachers for that matter) shouldn't have to pay for any school supplies. That is what they pay taxes for! If the taxes don't cover it, then the system needs to be re-examined.
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Donating supplies
Old 07-14-2015, 06:46 PM
 
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I put on my website a "wish list." Parents who want to donate can buy the extra supplies that some of my students can't afford. I have had a lot of luck with that. I've had years where there is a lot of generosity and people have donated tissues, wipes, pencil boxes (I keep these and use each year for students who don't bring in supplies), pencils, crayons. Most of the supplies that are brought in are actually community supplies (pencils, crayons and markers all go in a community tub).

At the end of the year, students take home all left over pencils, crayons, erasers, markers, and their pencil boxes. They can reuse these the following year. I don't think that they need to buy new everything every school year.


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Old 07-14-2015, 06:48 PM
 
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That would be nice, wouldn't it? I'm actually glad that my taxes go to teacher salaries and not pencils though....
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Supplies
Old 07-14-2015, 07:52 PM
 
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Our district allows $400 for each teacher to spend on whatever is needed for his/her classroom. I spend $50-$75 each year on extra supplies for kids who come to school without. I do not spend my own money on school supplies or decorations or organizational stuff. I do spend a little on treats for my class occasionally.

So many teachers complain about being EXPECTED to spend their own money. Has anyone here on PT ever been directly told that they HAD to buy with their own money or is that assumed (by the lack of needed materials)?
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$10 per student per year
Old 07-14-2015, 09:31 PM
 
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plus paper and that's it. That has to cover toner and EVERYTHING else. Including colored paper, staplers, staples, sticky notes etc.
So I basically get about $320 for everything and about 20 reams of copy paper (I'd rather trade the paper in for more money).

And I'm in the good old state of California where we can "request" donations but that's it. And we have to word it very carefully and it has to be approved by my micromanaging P so for us it has to be something to the extent of:
"If you'd like we can always use- glue sticks, tissues, pencils...Please remember this is a donation and no one has to bring anything."

Last year out of 28 students I had maybe 5 the entire year bring anything. I kept putting it on their Monday letter off and on the entire year.

So yes, technically, I don't HAVE to provide tissues, technically I don't have to provide band-aides etc. but if I don't, it makes my life harder.

Not sure which lovely Governor to thank for that one!
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Change the message
Old 07-15-2015, 04:19 AM
 
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I think teachers desperately need to change the message from, "Look, I'm spending my own money for your students' basic needs," to "Your students' basic needs in the classroom are NOT being met by your school school district." Teachers have to stop supplying their classrooms out of their own pay checks.

And I know that i's easy for me to refuse to spend my own money since I do get a $400 stipend to spend every year. But that's how we got it in my district. The parents and community need to know that their kids are going without, not that some benevolent teacher is supplying them. Otherwise all teachers get is a "thanks, suckers."
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Old 07-15-2015, 04:45 AM
 
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This is a hot topic. My district provides $125 per year for each teacher to use on items we need each school year. That is not a lot. Once you buy dry erase markers, there is not much left. I am a veteran teacher and usually buy whatever the kids need. I did get many supplies at the penny sales. I have decreased my spending in the past few years due to lack of appreciation. I also realized the $500 (at least) I spent every year could have gone to my own sons' college funds. I am contributing more for my pension and healthcare and making less money. I am now only buying a few sale items for class use and for what I need. If any child doesn't have the items, I have used items I collect at the end of the previous years. I feel that the school or district should provide the items and not the teachers.
Everyone makes their own choices on how they spend their own money. I choose not to any more.

Last edited by mommy9298; 07-15-2015 at 05:40 AM..
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School budget
Old 07-15-2015, 05:33 AM
 
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i get $300 to spend on
"supplies" but that must be spent by May of the previous year so it can be ordered by the secretary. That means I can't use it at regular stores, only catalogs. It is much appreciated though and I get some things I certainly would not spend my own money on.
I used to buy consumable supplies years ago, but then i started getting aggravated. Why should I buy supplies for other peoples kids when I am buying for my own? Now, we do have families in my district that have no money, and I mean no money. But we always have backpacks and supplies donated by the senior developments near us that I can go to and get really nice things for them.

My supply closet has the basics that I can order throughout the year, crayons, glue, tape, markers, highlighters, construction paper, etc.

I let parents know at Back to School night that certain things will need to be replaced during the year so try to pick up extras on sale.
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Old 07-15-2015, 05:38 AM
 
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Quote:
I only spend money like that if I get an outrageous deal-like Elmer's glue sticks for 10 cents.
That's what I do, too. I'll occasionally buy something like a cute basket or something to make class organization easier for me, but I don't spend a fortune anymore.

Thankfully, I can send out an email to parents if we're running low on something (tissues, etc...) and I'll get a few boxes the next day! I think they'd rather do that than come in and help nowadays. At least it's that way in our school.

Ironically, I make more money each year, but I spend less on my classroom.
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Old 07-15-2015, 06:31 AM
 
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I work at a school that is almost 100% free lunch and what the kids bring in varies from year to year. Last year was great, I think over 3/4 of the kids brought in their supplies. But I've had years that only a few kids brought them in. Also, we are restricted on what we can ask for so as to not burden our parents. Not to mention all the kids that come during the year...NONE of which bring so much as a pencil.

So, as you can imagine, we do spend our own money. A child can't function without the basics of pencils and paper and if their parents refuse to send them in...someone has to supply it. We do get a supply budget of around $200 but as we all know, that doesn't go far.

So the answer to your question of "why" is because the kids need it and someone has to buy it.

I've been shopping the sales. 4 packs of glue for 25 cents, 25 cent notebooks, etc. The key is to find good deals and buy in bulk .
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This is a topic close to the heart . . .
Old 07-15-2015, 07:07 AM
 
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I, too, buy a few school supplies during the sales and buy classroom sets of things that my OCD nature likes to be "all the same" or color-coded, etc. I do spend less and less each year as I learn what I really, really need to have to teach and to identify the few things that make the teaching day more satisfying.

Last year I noticed more of the families that could afford the supplies begin to "pick and choose" what they purchased for their kiddos. They determined the number of pencils that their child needed, etc. It was very interesting. I think that they realize that many of the supplies that they purchase end up being used by children other than their own and are tired of purchasing supplies for other kiddos.

My school provides a $100 for teachers to spend as they wish and our community has a backpack program for needy students that provides most of the supplies that are needed.
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money on supplies
Old 07-15-2015, 07:32 PM
 
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As someone else mentioned, I also teach in CA and we are only allowed to ask for donations. I get a decent budget for supplies (to order through one particular company) but I do spend money on extras, like ancillary materials, decor, supplies for a particular project that I can't get at our supply company, treats, rewards, etc. I'm definitely spending less these days. I feel it is expected and I resent that. When I ask for donations, all I ask for is tissue and sanitizing wipes. I don't get much. I feel badly for those that little or no budget for supplies. I would protest.
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Old 07-15-2015, 07:44 PM
 
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If I find a great sale I will stock up on consumables. Mind you, the last time I did this was about 4 years ago and my supplies are just now dwindling. Also, 4 years ago I had a hubby and a 2nd income! I am in a high poverty school and we are fortunate that many businesses in our area will donate supplies, so I am usually covered. My biggest struggle is that we have a high mobility rate, this means I get lots of new kids mid-year and later that come in with nothing. I have to keep toolboxes, markers, and crayons for that reason, because at that point our give away closet is mostly empty! I can turn in a receipt and get remimbursed for those things, but I usually forget.
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Old 07-16-2015, 09:57 AM
 
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I too agree that teachers should not buy consumables, but what really irks me is when a parent claims that they have no money for basic supplies like a backpack or a pencil to do homework at home, but then the parent and kid shows up with a spanking new smart phone, tablet, brand new $100 pair of sneakers, expensive brand name clothing, and a new car.

I guess my educational priorities in life are off.
:/
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FL-teach said it best
Old 07-17-2015, 04:29 AM
 
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Someone has to buy the supplies. Yep, the parents should. But adults, like kids, are not always responsible. How would a primary classroom work if a 7 year old doesn't have supplies? Is it their fault? How would you like to be that 7 year old whose parents didn't send them with what they need?

Schools only have so much money. They all seem to spend what they have differently. In my district teachers are paid very well. I make almost 3 times more than some of you. But the school doesn't provide supplies for kids who come without them. We are also not limited on copies, nor do we need to buy our own copy paper. But our total classroom budget is $100 for everything we need to buy for the year. So yes, I spend my own money for things I want/need for my classroom. No one is telling me I have to.

Perhaps some of you make a lot less than me, but get a larger classroom budget. Or basic school supplies are provided in your school, so you don't end up spending your own money on anything. It sounds great to have a place in your building that's filled with looseleaf paper, pencils, crayons, etc. How wonderful! I've never had such a place.

It would be great if everyone came to school with all the supplies they needed, or the schools provided everything kids needed PLUS paid the teachers well. But we just have to deal with the reality. And for some of us, that means purchasing basic school supplies to make sure our class functions smoothly. Sadly, this is just the reality of education in our country.
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school supplies
Old 07-17-2015, 12:56 PM
 
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School supplies are definitely a hot topic. When I first started teaching, we were given $50 for supplies, sent home a supply list, and asked for a $20 donation (per family).

Now, we're not given ANY money to spend on supplies (or anything else). We're also not allowed to send home a supply list or ask for donations. I'd say only about 20% of my students bring any supplies to school. I absolutely do not want to spend money on school supplies, but I'm at a loss on what else to do. Whenever I approach my administration about it, I'm told, "You just have to think outside the box."
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Old 07-18-2015, 08:49 PM
 
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We get NZ$240 (US$156) year to spend as we wish for our classrooms. Our children are given stationery lists at the end of the year before for the year level/class they will be in the following year and are expected to arrive at school with the required stationery on day one. 99% do. The remainder will usually have it by the end of the first week. Parents can go online to a particular retailer, click on the school, then room number, order a pack and it will be delivered to the school ready for day 1 (along with all other ordered packs)

I make sure I have spare pencils (some left overs from last year and some new), pens, coloured pencils, coloured markers/felts, pencil sharpeners, erasers, rulers at the back of the classroom as spares. If children need new pencils, books etc, the go to the office with the receipt book, get the item and the parents are invoiced at the end of the term.

As much as I like and enjoy the children I teach, it is not my responsibility to provide their materials for them. I have spares in case they need them but I am not the default provider.
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