Almost all teachers spend their own money on school needs: study
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Almost all public school teachers surveyed in a new report say they spent some of their own money to cover the costs of school supplies, according to a study released Tuesday.

The National Center of Education Statistics found that nearly all public school teachers spent their own money on school needs, spending on average close to $480 a year on school supplies. That average is nearly double the $250 federal tax deduction available to teachers.

The findings come as teachers across the nation protest low pay and demand higher salaries. A key demand during the Arizona teachers’ strike was assistance with paying for class supplies.

According to the study, 94 percent of public school teachers say they used their own money to pay for notebooks, writing utensils and other supplies without reimbursement in the 2014-15 school year. Roughly 44 percent of public school teachers spent $250 or less, while about 36 percent said they spent $251 to $500. The average amount of personal money spent was $479.

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Teachers pushed back against the tax bill passed by Congress last year when the legislation called for eliminating the $250 federal tax deduction altogether, while the Senate version of the bill called for the deduction to be raised to $500. But the deduction ultimately remained unchanged.

The findings also revealed that public school teachers in high-poverty schools were even more likely than other teachers to use their personal money to cover school supply costs. The study found that 86 percent of teacher in schools that don’t offer a free or reduced lunch school program said they’ve dug into their own wallets to pay for classroom needs.

However, roughly 95 percent of teachers in schools that did participate in those programs said they paid for classroom needs.