NC Teacher: Under McCrory, I'm Paying More for School Supplies
As school gets ready to start, teachers across North Carolina are hitting the stores to stock up for their classrooms. One educator in western NC, Carla Brookshire, shares in an op-ed that thanks to the policies in Raleigh, she's paying more than ever for classroom supplies AND no longer has the sales tax holiday to help out.
As an English teacher as Tuscola High School in Haywood County, my first task of my school year is actually shopping for my students. Before I can prepare my classroom, before I can meet my students, before I even check my lesson plan, the first thing I do is go to the store. I buy pencils, highlighters, extra composition books, sticky notes and tissues. These are the very basic of supplies.
All in all, I spend more than $150 on that first shopping trip, just to set up a learning environment in which my students can thrive. But unlike a job in an office, a university, or a private school, I am not reimbursed for the basic supplies I need to work.
Teachers have always chipped in a few dollars to supplement their supplies. But the situation has grown desperate, as our supply budgets are woefully underfunded. Before the Great Recession, the state funded supplies in 2008-09 to the tune of $59/student. That figure is cut almost in half for this school year — $30.45/student. Teachers and parents are forced to fill a huge funding gap. Some public school parents simply cannot afford it. Teachers are forced to pick up the slack created by a legislature which refuses to fund the needed learning tools.
To make matters worse, lawmakers in Raleigh have hit parents and teachers with a school supply double-whammy. Not only have the politicians in Raleigh cut our classroom supply budgets in half, but they also end the sales tax holiday, which parents and teachers depended upon to save a few dollars with back-to-school shopping. It wasn’t always like this in North Carolina. It isn’t like this in other states. Teachers and parents in Tennessee and Georgia enjoyed a sales tax holiday last weekend. Virginia and South Carolina hold their sales tax holiday this weekend.