Are items purchased with instructional funds school or personal property?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by J. A., Jul 13, 2018.

  1. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2018

    This may not be an answerable question, as I'm sure districts differ on this. I taught in a Virginia district for one semester, where teachers were given around $450 a year in instructional funds for classroom materials. I spent the entirety of mine on class packs of dictionaries and two class packs of novels. When I resigned mid-year, I did not bother taking them with me, as I assumed they were school property.

    However, I can see this two ways:

    1) The instructional money is considered school money, so therefore items purchased with it are school property and must remain at school, even upon resignation.

    2) The instructional money may be considered part of your income, so therefore items purchased with it are personal property that may be taken home.

    Which way, if you know, does your district define it? I emailed my former principal to ask of the possibility of me retrieving my books, but have yet to hear anything. Has anyone else been in a situation where they resigned from a district/school, but kept the purchased items?
     
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  3. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 13, 2018

    The above-mentioned items are school/district property.
     
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  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jul 13, 2018

    I've taken things with me upon leaving before - things that I'm not sure anyone would miss... but I'm not sure that I was really allowed to. :whistle:

    I've also left things behind that, no question about it, belonged to me personally. I just didn't want or need them anymore, or I thought that they could really benefit someone else by leaving them behind.

    I probably wouldn't have emailed the principal to ask for books that the school paid for while you worked there, especially given that you no longer work there. I'd consider them long gone and move on.
     
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  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 13, 2018

    If the money came from the school, the items belong to the school. I use personal funds for anything I want to have control over or be able to take with me should I ever move to another school.
     
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  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jul 13, 2018

    The only things that are personal property are the items that I buy with my personal money. Instructional funds are school funds, not mine, even if they were earmarked for me to spend.

    I always mark all of my personal items with my name and "personal" just in case there is any question. If the school bought it, I put the year acquired on it.
     
  7. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    We get money from the state to buy things for the class. It’s not much just $200, and some of that is pooled for copies. What we buy with that money can be taken if a teacher transfers to another school in the state. Things that purchased by the school or with tilte 1 funds belong to the school. That was the explanation given to me when I transferred schools in district. Over the years I’ve seen many teachers take things and there’s never been an issue that I know of.
     
  8. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Devotee

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    If it's school money, I leave it at the school. If it's my money or something I made, I label it and take it with me when I'm done, even something as simple as a poster I made but printed & laminated on the school's printer and laminator
     
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  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Jul 13, 2018

    I would assume things purchased with school funds are property of the school. It doesn't hurt to ask if you can take items with you, but I'd assume the answer would be no.
     
  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    The books belong to the school since you used instructional money to purchase them. It's not part of your income, it's a budget line in your school's budget.

    When I left my division, I took everything I purchased with my own personal money. Anything purchased using school funds stayed in my classroom for the next teacher.
     
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  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I follow a simple rule. If I didn’t crack open my wallet to get the item, I don’t keep the item.
     
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  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 14, 2018

    NOT PART OF YOUR INCOME. Items bought with SCHOOL funds are SCHOOL property.
    Emailing the former P to get what is not yours is bad form.
     
  13. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    They're school property. It's difficult to argue otherwise. That being said. I've been in the exact same classroom for the past six years. I label everything with my name no matter who bought it so that if it sprouts legs it can find it's way home. I don't know what's mine and what's theirs. I know particularly expensive items, but most things, I don't know. When and if I leave I'll take some I'll leave some.
     
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  14. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jul 14, 2018

    Personal money=your property
    School money = school property
    I would not want the school to claim things I bought with my money to be their property. I'm certain they don't want you to claim their property to be yours. Would you take the teacher desk home with you if you'd been given the money to pick it out?
     
  15. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Jul 14, 2018

    Things I buy with my own money I clearly mark with my name as soon as I get it. Items bought by my school get the classroom number or class name ( Preschool, K-2 ED, MH, etc.) written on it just to avoid such issues.

    I suppose if you move within the same district taking items would be acceptable, but, I'd still ask my principal just so everything was on the level.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Best to label school and personally differently. I put grade and initial for school property. Last name for personal.
     
  17. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Jul 14, 2018

    The books never belonged to you, OP. The things like "your books" were purchased by the school through instructional funds, intended to give you, the teacher, financial support by providing materials they, the school, simply didn't know you needed, at the time.

    Personally, it shouldn't come as a surprise that you haven't heard from the former district regarding your request. I think that no response is better than what might be given should you ask once again. My suggestion would be to ask your current employer for the money to buy these items for your current students. If you don't have students with a need for these books right now, or if you lack a district with instructional funds to share with their teachers, you can do what many of us have had to do over the years. Get creative and work with less, find used items to work with, or open your wallet and purchase them yourself. If you choose to purchase the items with your own money, identify each item when it arrives, clearly mark it, and keep that record in a safe place, clearly identified as personal funds used to purchase supplies used in the classroom. This way, you will never have to worry about someone thinking that school funds were used inappropriately, and you will also be free to take the personal items with you to a new job. Your accountant will also appreciate it if you keep your receipts for these items, for your taxes.

    Like most of the other posters have indicated, instructional funds are intended to be used for students in the district where you are employed. Assuming you are no longer employed in that district, you no longer have a claim on your purchase. Could be why no one responded when you asked for "your books."
     
  18. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2018

    Thanks for the feedback. It seems that people are in agreement. I guess I should have stated that in my email to the admin at my former job, I didn't outright ask for the books; rather, I asked if items purchased with instructional money were considered school property, as when I was there, teachers who retired often took items purchased with school money home, but I did not want to assume it was allowed.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 15, 2018

    I don't understand why you'd think that money given to you by a school for the purchase of instructional materials could be considered income.

    Sometimes schools will let you take materials with you even if they were purchased by the school or through special funding. It may be because an administrator is just being nice, or because the school no longer plans to offer whatever curriculum would use those particular materials, or because the money was really "district" or "state" money, rather than school-specific, and items purchased with it can follow you to another site within the same district or state. The only way you'll know is to ask, ideally before you leave.
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Jul 15, 2018

    Since you were only there a semester, you really had no idea if retiring teachers were allowed to take items purchased with instructional funds or not. If I was retiring today, I would be walking out, filling my car with possessions. People who know me well would know that I had acquired virtually all of it through persistence, finding freebies, and my own personal funds. No one scrounges better for a deal or resource than I do. I would be appalled if someone mistakenly believed that I was taking home items bought with school funds. I don't know how many people you witnessed retiring in your semester at that school, but I would truly hope that those retirees were simply taking what belonged to them, not school funded/purchased goods that deserved to stay at the school, doing the job they were purchased for.

    The materials you hoped to retrieve were brand new and certainly still very relevant to the grade and subject you were teaching, so I am certain that they were appreciated by your replacement, meaning that they were still being used exactly as you had envisioned. They just aren't being used by you.
     
  21. J. A.

    J. A. Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2018

    The money is provided by the district, not the individual school itself. I realize now it was probably a completely idiotic question, and even more idiotic to email the admin asking the question. However, I am new to the profession, and none of this was really explained to me.... like at all. The reason I asked is largely because my mentor teacher while student teaching had books, as well as posters, etc., paid for by district-provided instructional money, that she was allowed to take with her when she transferred to a different county.

    When I did email, I simply asked if the items purchased with my instructional money were the property of the school. Still... probably not my best judgment.

    Thanks for the responses, though!! I'm just a newbie trying to learn things that nobody tells me. lol
     

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