Teachers spending hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket for classroom supplies


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – There is no doubt that heading back to the classroom means spending a lot of money for teachers.

Many teachers spend that money out of pocket to help prepare their students.

News Channel 11 went “Back to School shopping” with a Fairmont Elementary School teacher who says it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.

“Even though they are our students, we still call them our kids, and we wanna make sure they have what they need,” says Leeanne Francis, a kindergarten teacher at Fairmont Elementary.

With 18 years of experience under her belt, Francis knows the ins and outs of back to school shopping

“I get very excited. That’s one of the things, you know you’re a teacher when you get so excited when you see the school supplies,” Francis said.

But that doesn’t mean she gets off too easy.

Francis said just one trip alone will probably cost her at least $100 of her own money.

Teachers digging into their own pockets to stock their classrooms is something you see all across the country.

“I try to get what’s necessary or what’s not on the list that parents are getting,” Francis said. “We try to keep our list below a certain amount of money, that way it doesn’t put a strain on the parents.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 94% of teachers spend their own money on their students’ behalf.

The average amount spent of their own money is around $500, and some teachers report they spent thousands of dollars in one school year on supplies.

“It is a big job at the beginning of the year, but it helps set those students and kids up for success,” Francis said.

For Francis, it comes down to finding deals and bargain hunting to keep the classroom stocked and the bill as low as possible.

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