City teachers paying more out of pocket to stock their classrooms with supplies

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RIDGEWOOD, QUEENS (PIX11) – Teacher’s Choice Plus on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood is like a toy store for teachers: packed with all the papers, pencils, and books needed to make the classroom pop on the first day of school.
And each August teachers flock to stores like this one to stock up on supplies.

But more and more teachers are paying for these supplies out of their own pockets.

According to a recent poll by RetailMeNot.com, almost 90% of K through 12th grade teachers are using their own money to stock their classrooms.

Daniel Solo owns the teacher supply store, and says getting ready for the school year isn’t cheap.

“A new teacher starting these days probably puts three to four hundred dollars as an initial investment into that classroom and continues to spend throughout the year,”  Solo said.

In the past, teachers were reimbursed for money spent on their classrooms thanks to the Teacher’s Choice fund.

In 2007 educators could spend about $220 each.

Two years ago the city cut the funding completely.

This year they’ll get reimbursed for the first $57 they spend.

But most teachers say it’s a lot more expensive than that to ensure a quality education.

“My goal is to make sure my children are learning and in order for them to learn it costs,” said teacher Daisy Amador.

Even though teachers say it’s better to be getting some money than no money at all, they say the $57 they get in teacher’s choice money is barely enough to cover their pencils and paper that they need to get through the school year.

But not all teachers can afford to pay out of pocket for the supplies and Solo says the funding cut has definitely affected his bottom line.

And ultimately teachers say without the supplies, it’s the students who suffer the most.

“Kids don’t have, and they’re kids that ‘Oh I don’t have, I don’t have to do your work,” said teacher Betty Nieves.

And that’s why some teachers say when it comes to their school supplies, a little more green from the city could go a long way in helping their students make the grade.

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