Teachers nationwide spend billions of dollars on school supplies - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Teachers nationwide spend billions of dollars on school supplies

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With the start of the school year less than a month away for many districts, back-to-school shopping is in full swing.

But, when it comes to spending money, teachers are also making the investment.

According to a new report, last year teachers spent $3.2 billion dollars on educational products and $1.6 billion of that came from their own pockets.

Teachers nationwide are paying a pretty penny for their classroom's supplies.

"I don't mind doing it because you're there eight hours a day in one classroom, you better make the environment enticing and interesting," Gehlen Catholic School Teacher Cecilia Henrich said.

The National School Supply & Equipment Association Retail Market Awareness Report found that each teacher spends about $945 a year on their classroom. 

The owner of the Education Station John MacGregor said this is his busiest time of year.

"Probably 90-percent of it is spent between July and August," MacGregor said.

Henrich said she gets excited to buy new supplies.

"I come in and say, 'this would look good. I like this. This is a great motivational poster,'" Henrich said.

Not all teachers go shopping with a budget in mind, but Henrich doesn't mind because she said it's all for the good of learning.

"It's hard to stay within a certain budget when you get excited about it, you know you want your classroom to be really inviting and welcoming, so you want to do the best you can to make the decor appropriate," Henrich said.

"It's voluntary. People do this because they care," Director of the Sioux City Education Association Bruce Lear said.

Lear added that in some Siouxland schools, there's a real need for teachers to step up to the plate.

"We really have quite a few children in poverty though, so the gaps need to be filled," Lear said.

Along with helping the children, Henrich sees other benefits to spending her own money.

"You can make the call on what you want to purchase. When I retire, I can take all my things with me," Henrich said.

Right now, teachers are able to write off a certain portion of their spending, but Lear said he would like to see the state go back to some sort of income tax credit for teachers spending their own money on school supplies.

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