Helping to Subsidize Education's Costs

Friday, July 08, 2005

Helping to Subsidize Education's Costs

In an era when state budgets are extremely tight, Michigan is one of many states that seem to have discovered a nifty funding source for public education: teachers. As this recent article reported:
... Michigan teachers estimated they dug into their pockets (last school year) to spend $466 on average for books, pencils, paper, art supplies, snacks and other items for their classrooms, a survey concludes.

In a telephone poll of 1,016 Michigan public school teachers conducted last month ... nearly 67 percent of teachers ... said they were spending more of their own money than four years ago.

... [Ed Sarpolus, vice president of the firm that conducted the survey,] said that with more than 100,000 public school teachers, the $466 out of pocket adds up. "That's $47 million last year that the teachers contributed for the state of Michigan out of their own personal salaries. That's a pretty big number," he said.

The need for teachers to pick up where districts stop upsets Margaret Trimer-Hartley, spokeswoman for the Michigan Education Association, the state's largest teachers union. "Are we asking doctors to buy medicine for their patients? .... Professionals ought to be given the tools to do their jobs and not be expected to dip into their own pockets for such basics."
I suppose this is a small consolation:
Teachers receive a federal tax break for out-of-pocket purchases. They can deduct up to $250 for supplies for the classroom under legislation that started for the 2002 tax year, extended through 2005.

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