Teachers footing the bill for school supplies - WRBL

Teachers footing the bill for school supplies

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DURHAM, N.C. -

As teachers get their classrooms ready for the first day of school, many of them are having to dish money out of their own pockets to make sure kids have the supplies they need.

"Every year, I do have to spend a lot," said Kirtina Jones, a second grade teacher at R.N. Harris Elementary School.

With schools all over the state facing tighter and tighter budgets, it's often times teachers who pick up the slack.

A study from the National School Supply and Equipment Association found that the amount of money teachers are spending on basic supplies and materials they need is on the rise.

Last year, out of the estimated $3.2 billion teachers spent on education supplies, $1.6 billion came from their own checkbooks, according to the study.

The report also found the average teacher last year spent $485 on supplies for the classroom and 10 percent of teachers reported spending more than $1,000.

"We love our kids, we love our state, it just makes it tough," explained Jones, "It makes you kind of feel like don't they notice us? Don't they know we need this?"

Many teachers say another year without pay raises makes things even harder.

"That's one of the toughest things, without a pay raise it makes it really hard because you're going to do what you're going to do for your kids, but it makes it tough," said Jones.

Jones says spending her own money, comes with the job. She said either way, she is excited and ready for the new school year. And she's got a message for her new student's: "Get ready! Get excited! The teachers are ready for you, we've been working hard, we had a little vacation but were really excited to have you here! And be ready to work!" 

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Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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