How Much Do You Spend on Your Classroom?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by JoannaCA, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2016

    I’m reaching out to ask for your help and 10-15 minutes of your time. I’m working on a short series of articles about schools and money for The Billfold, a money/ personal finance website, and I’d like to know if you spend your own money on school supplies for your classroom, how much you spend, and what you spend it on. I hope that this highly unscientific but nevertheless interesting (to me, anyway) metric can help shed some light on issues with school funding and inequality.


    Specifically, I’d like to know:
    -How much money you spent last year (or whatever year you want to tell me about.)
    -What did you spend the money on? What did you buy that you or your students would not have had otherwise?
    -What funds were available to you for classroom supplies? Did that money come from the school site budget or the PTA or district fundraising org? Was it adequate?
    -Did you personally fundraise for your class, club, or team? If so, did you fundraise within the school community (i.e. bakesales, soliciting parent donations) or outside of it, calling on your personal network.
    -A little context: socioeconomics of school community, subject or grade you teach, etc.
    -Anything else that feels relevant
    -Let me know if it is ok for me to quote you using your first name or initials


    For example, if I was responding, I would write, “I paid no money out of pocket nor did I fundraise. I teach in a middle school in an affluent suburb in the Bay Area. Teachers at my school are given a classroom budget of $300 that comes out of the school site’s materials & supplies budget to cover everything except copy paper, which the school stocks. The PTSA additionally provides each teacher $300 to spend on learning materials, plus an additional sum for new teachers setting up their classrooms. The money is more than adequate. The first $300 I spent on office supplies (lined paper, index cards, sticky notes, art supplies, staples, dry-erase markers, poster paper, bins, etc.) The PTSA money I spent on items that aren't strictly necessary but just make learning better, more fun and pleasant, such as YA books for a classroom lending library, wigs and costumes for skits, curricular materials and professional books, cotton bolls (for learning about the cotton gin!), etc. There is a district-affiliated non-profit that pays for guest teaching artists (as well as the salaries of art and gym teachers) and technology. Private donations funded a 1:1 iPad program. But all the fundraising is coordinated by parents and paid staff; I've never had to raise money myself.”

    Thanks ahead of time for anything you can offer! Accuracy, of course, is important, but I’m not checking your tax returns so please go ahead and estimate for the sake of expediency/ sanity.

    Feel free to reply to me by PM if you would rather post specifics in the forum.

    Thank you!
    Joanna
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Aug 11, 2016

    I'm moving into a new classroom this year so I'm spending more this year than in the past few years. Usually, I'll spend about $500 a year on books, stickers, pencils, awards, and other items. This year, I've spent over a thousand and I'll probably spend another couple hundred or more during the year. (Edited to add: I just added up receipts and it's closer to 2k! Ouch!) I've bought storage materials, curriculum materials, seating, student notebooks, and the usual stickers, bulletin board fabric and borders. I'm thinking of buying a table for my small groups as I don't like the only one available for me.

    I'll get $50 from the PTO and $125 from the school for supplies.

    I'm in a title one school, with a rather low percentage of students in poorer families compared to schools I've taught at before. It's 65% low socio-eco.

    I teach fourth grade.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  4. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    Aug 11, 2016

    I usually spend well over $1000 each year on supplies for my kids-markers, crayons, pencils,glue, etc.. I also buy books and needed supplies for the classroom-name tags, locker tags, desk tags, stamp pads, etc... I get $0 from my school to spend on supplies. Without buying supplies for my students they would not have anything! I also buy clothes, snacks, etc... to help my students!!

    I teach Kindergarten in a small, rural school district and most of my students were free/reduced lunch students. I also had 5 students that were new to the country from refugee camps overseas.

    I write grants to help cover our field trip to a science museum as most of my kids can't afford the entrance fee of $3 along with the transportation costs.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Aug 11, 2016

    I spend about $200-$300 of my own money each year for all things teacher and student related. How much we get varies so much from year to year. All I can say is that I get less from the school than I use to, but I have been able to persuade parents to help more. It has kind of balanced out.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I spend $200-$300 of my own money, usually on books (Half.com), loss leaders (journals, pens, pencils, filler paper, some binders). I am NJ, and teach in HS, so not so much in the art supplies. Although we get $350 from the school, it must be used with one vendor, at inflated prices, so I use that for the things we always run out of - and I am talking staff. I spent my entire amount on pens. My "neighbor" spent his on pencils. The other neighbor bought all binders - you get the idea. I look for free posters by mail, many of which are listed in the free resources thread I maintain, and another teacher takes the time to laminate them for us. If I find a good poster or visual, I will get it, no matter the content, then share with my neighbors. It buys good will, creates a good feeling of community, and helps when I want to do a cross-curricular project. Our students are residential, so no parents to lean on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  7. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2016

    Thank you so much! Do you mind telling me what grade you teach? Are you elementary?
     
  8. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Aug 12, 2016

    Thank you so much. Would you mind sharing what state you are in?
     
  9. HowardCox

    HowardCox New Member

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    Aug 12, 2016

    I am a preschool teacher and spend around $200 on the things which are necessary for making the learning interactive for the students. I believe it is very necessary to teach children in an interactive way, so that they can enjoy the learning and did not take the subjects like maths as a burden on them.
     
  10. alilisa

    alilisa Habitué

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    Aug 12, 2016

    I'm in Minnesota
     
  11. nstructor

    nstructor Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2016

    I spend close to $2000.00 a year on rewards, books, supplies, etc. . .
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2016

    Last year I'd wager I spent around 30$ of my own money on TeachersPayTeachers and a bit of decor.

    I spent this because I surpassed my requisition limit and I never bothered to submit it through another budget.

    This year my school is streamlining budgets, giving each teacher a single supply budget from multiple sources (our state money, whatever the school generally finds itself giving per teacher, and the PTO funds), plus another budget shared by each grade. Office-type supplies were given to us in baskets, and we then fill out a form and bring the basket (administration is very adamant it must be the same cutesy baskets) to be refilled when needed. Office stuff has no effect the aforementioned budgets.

    We had a big meeting on this the other day. It's more or less the same money as last year, only somebody went streamline happy.

    Frankly, I found such funds sufficient in the past. I have done DonorsChoose or even a personal mine mine mine investment before for other special things, but generally I find I'm funded pretty well. We also have a great supply help from the student body.

    My school is a charter school with quite a mix of backgrounds but is Title 1. I teach 2nd grade.

    I personally don't care for spending my own money, at least as far as feeling I must spend my own. Perhaps I'm lucky to have good funding and families that can bring a few supplies.

    Edit: I probably spent about 100$ on books, but I guess I dont see that as classroom fund. My books that happen to be in my classroom!
     
  13. oneteacher

    oneteacher Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2016

    My husband and I were talking about this very thing most of last week. I teach 5th grade in a rural school in Utah. We are a title 1 school. I don't spend a lot of my own money on school supplies, except for books. I'd wager I spent about $50 on chapter books this last year. I get them at garage sales and 2nd hand stores whenever I can. I also use points with my scholastic book club. As a 2nd year teacher, I get $250 from the state legislature to spend on whatever classroom supplies I need. The last 2 years I've used it for notebooks, binders, red pens, awards, incentives, etc. The school district supplies us with basic office supplies like pencils, dry erase markers, lined paper, glue, colored pencils, small composition notebooks, pens, etc. By law we cannot ask our students to bring anything like pencils, notebooks, etc. We can only suggest they donate stuff. So, if I want my students to have a spiral bound notebook and they choose to not "donate" one, I would have to use my own money or the legislative money. I don't do fundraisers and I don't know anyone who does in my school. Our local education foundation does offer small grants and I've applied for and gotten them 2 years in a row. I have used that money ($200) for math manipulatives and sets of chapter books.
     
  14. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2016

    I am particular about my things. My school will provide basic levels of everything, but I love pretty colors, patterns, etc... I also buy my own borders and things like that. I spend probably $300 when all is said and done because I also buy a lot of books.
    I'm in a rural area with a lot of community support.
     
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Aug 14, 2016

    :)
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Aug 14, 2016

    I probably spend around $150 over the course of the year, but to get that low price, I scour clearance shelves, dollar stores, garage sales, and thrift store half price days. It takes a lot of time. It could easily be four times that if I shopped at teacher stores or book stores. It's hard to pick an exact number... $10 or $15 at a store here and there. I buy books, posters, supplies, alternative seating, technology add-ons like headphones or iPad cases, reward items, and educational games.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I spend somewhere between $150 and $200--that includes supplies for a couple of special activities and celebrations I do during the year. I also spend....LOTS....on books, but that's a vice, not a necessity.
     
  18. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2016

    Thank you so much for your replies!
     
  19. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Thank you! Would you mind sharing the state you teach in?

     
  20. JoannaCA

    JoannaCA Rookie

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    Thank you! Would you mind sharing your subject or grade and state?
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 16, 2016

    I'm in CA, Central Valley, alternative ed high school. I have a $500 budget / year. I normally don't spend any of my money on classroom supplies. This year my school was "dissolved", merged into another school, so I brought everything with me (all office supplies, etc) and had plenty of office supplies waiting for me in my new classroom.
    The only thing I ever spent money on was games for the student's free time, such as playing cards, or chess, dominoes, etc. I'm still using some of the old sets, but this year I've spent about $30 on a game of Jenga, adult coloring book (I'll make copies) and 2 decks of cards. (these would not be approved, so I had to buy it myself, or not have it at all)
    Novels, and anything else I needed, I ordered.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 16, 2016

    Specifically, I’d like to know:
    -How much money you spent last year (or whatever year you want to tell me about.). Less than $50 out of my own money.
    About $300 of school money
    -What did you spend the money on? What did you buy that you or your students would not have had otherwise?
    Chart paper, paper, markers, pens-general school supply kind of stuff. Some trade books
    -What funds were available to you for classroom supplies? Did that money come from the school site budget or the PTA or district fundraising org? Was it adequate?
    $300 school site budget
    It was adequate- I've been teaching in this school for 16 years so I have accumulated a lot!
    -Did you personally fundraise for your class, club, or team? If so, did you fundraise within the school community (i.e. bakesales, soliciting parent donations) or outside of it, calling on your personal network.
    Nope
    -A little context: socioeconomics of school community, subject or grade you teach, etc.
    High SES, grade 3
    we have good community support, lots of technology, the PTO is VERY generous
    -Let me know if it is ok for me to quote you using your first name or initials
    You can put CZ
    I'm in NJ
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Aug 16, 2016

    Utah
     
  24. Nab

    Nab Companion

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    Aug 16, 2016

    I am a new teacher. First year! In Louisiana.

    In the month leading up to the start of school, I have spent roughly $250 on things for my room. I literally had nothing in my room, expect built-in shelves and an old wooden table. I used the money on second hand novels (I teach 8th grade ELA and 7th grade Enrichment), supplies for students (pens, pencils, paper, highlighters, folders, notebooks, binders), supplies for myself (pens, computer paper, a chair, staples, stapler, dry board, etc), class decorations, and needed things (tissue, paper towels, cleaning supplies). If I had not bought these things, the students would have had nothing. Most come to class with nothing on a regular day.

    There were no available funds for my classroom, so everything was bought by me. The students are to turn in fees at the start of the year, and I'll get roughly $5 per student; so I'll have roughly $400 for student supplies. That will be given to me sometime in late September. However, it should be noted that I am in a poor district (every school in the district is Title 1) and most students don't pay their fees on time. I was told not to be surprised if some don't pay their fees until April or May. Fundraisers are not allowed at the school where I teach, unless agreed upon by the principal - and the principal only allows fundraisers for sports. My parents helped me buy an organizer tower for student papers.
     
  25. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Aug 17, 2016

    I teach grade 2 in WI. I spend money on kleenex, glue sticks, books, rewards/incentives, notebooks, erasers, pencil pouches, art boxes, cleaning wipes, cleaning sprays, dry erase markers, organizational totes, fun seating, lamps, rugs, teachers pay teachers site, super teachers website, etc. I search rummage sales. I spend between $700-$900 yearly now but was higher earlier in my career when I needed more totes and fun seating.
     
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  26. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I teach high school. When I first moved to a new grade and subject I spent a lot of money. Now that I'm pretty well set, I try to stay in the $200 budget we're given from the school.

    When I go over, it's to order stuff on TPT or because I run out of ink.
     
  27. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    We are given $600 but that includes curriculum material. I spend up to about $50-$100 a year. If it's on the high side it's because there are books I really wanted to order. I refuse to buy things that parents are supposed to provide.
     
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  28. crunkjshiz

    crunkjshiz Guest

    Mar 29, 2017

    Has anyone ever tried out mypickwish? Was recommended it, but I'm always skeptical of anything like that.
     
  29. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    When I began teaching, I would easily spend a couple thousand on student supplies each year. I would actually hide purchases from my husband, so as not to upset him. But I loved my job, felt I had free reign to do as much as I could, and dove in with both feet.

    In 2011, Indiana Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 575 were passed to stop districts from paying teachers based on seniority and education. Pay and benefits then began to decline steeply. It's not uncommon for teachers in my area to have gone a decade without a pay raise. Sad to say that the pay you see your first year teaching is the most you will ever see teaching.

    I've been tightening the belt since then. I might spend three to four hundred in a year out of my own pocket. The district hasn't bought supplies for my class in three years.

    I work in an impoverished Title 1 inner city school district (99% of students on free and reduced meal programs). If I didn't buy supplies for my class, my students would have next to nothing.

    --Amy
     

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