Study finds teachers spend hundreds out of pocket on supplies

Study finds teachers spend hundreds out of pocket on supplies (Image 1)

It's often referred to as the hidden costs of teaching in Tennessee, thousands of educators who spend their own money on supplies each year.

The state has never had a true grasp on those costs until now.

The Professional Educators of Tennessee (PET) conducted a survey of teachers from March 12 through April 1.

PET asked 954 teachers across the state, representing kindergarten through 12th grade, how much they spend out of pocket to support classroom activities each year.

“I knew that some people spend a lot of money, but I guess I didn't realize that so many of them did,” said Bethany Bowman, who is in charge of professional development for the PET.

The survey showed 61.4% of teachers across Tennessee are spending more than $250 of their own money each year in their classrooms.

“The part that mostly shocked me, about four or five percent spend more than one-thousand dollars a year on their classroom, and that one blew me away more than anything,” added Bowman.

Matt Elliott, who manages the Parent Teacher Store in Green Hills, said the numbers don't surprise him.

“Most teachers have funds allocated, but it ends up almost 100% of the time that they spend some money out of pocket, so it's a high probability that they spend their own money,” Elliott told Nashville's News 2.

Bowman said they did the survey, in part, because lawmakers wanted to know just how much teachers were spending out of pocket.

“The main thing that I would bring from this is teachers need the support of the parents, not necessarily the legislators, but parents to be involved, helping any way they can with class fundraisers and things like that,” said Bowman.

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