PARIS, Ill. (WTHI) – It’s that time of year again. Preparing your kids for the first day of school can be costly, but more and more teachers are also feeling the pinch.
You may be surprised just how much they are paying out of pocket for school supplies.
Turning a bare classroom into a jungle of knowledge is a full time job for Third Grade Teacher at Carolyn Wenz Elementary, Neil Foor.
“I’ve got to get the desks ready, put names on nametags for lockers, so there’s a lot going on,” said Foor.
Getting a classroom ready for the first day is not only a time consuming task but a costly one.
“I spent $100 over the weekend for bulletin boards, and I’ll probably spend $100 more upfront,” said Foor.
The two-hundred dollars allotted to every teacher for supplies is simply not enough.
“This right here in these four boxes is what the $200 covered,” said Foor as he points to a small stack of boxes.
Foor will spend upwards to five-hundred dollars out of pocket throughout the year.
“There are things I have to give up at home, but we try to make it work.”
Making it work is something Sharon Wright has grown accustomed to, as an educator for the past thirty years she now takes school supplies into consideration when budgeting her own finances.
“When I first started it was not uncommon for us to get $800 to $1,000 a year for school supplies,” said Wright.
Now that amount is coming out of her own pocketbook.
“There’s nothing sadder than on the first day of school that child sitting there with no school supplies to put away in their desk, so I always buy one extra set,” said Wright.
Just one of the many reasons that teachers say despite the struggle, the high price is worth paying.
“It’s really crucial because everything I buy is either used for a project or for a reward system so if I don’t have those things number one the teaching and the enhancement, you’re just kind of stuck to what’s in the book, instead of the hands on stuff, so that aspect would be taken away if I didn’t buy the stuff out of my own pocket,” said Foor.
“I don’t want my children to do without because of the circumstances in which they were born,” said Wright.
Students will return to the classrooms at Wenz Elementary next week.