Teaching Profession

Out-of-Pocket Expenses

By Joetta L. Sack — October 01, 2004 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California Teachers Lose State Tax Credit for Supply Costs

It’s a fact of life that teachers open their own wallets to buy some of the supplies they need for their classrooms.

California was one of the few states where they could get a break: tax credits of as much as $1,500 annually for the money they spent on pens, paper, books, or anything else they might need for their classes.

But because of an ongoing financial crisis, the state has suspended that tax break for the next two years to help balance its budget. It’s a double whammy for teachers, because a $250 federal tax deduction to help teachers defray personal costs for school supplies is scheduled to expire this year and might not be renewed.

The $180 million California program, which went into effect in 2000, offered teachers with four to 11 years of classroom experience tax credits worth from $250 to $500. More experienced teachers received tax credits of up to $1,500.

Many teachers bought supplies for the start of this school year and will now see their tax burden increase, said Barbara Kerr, the president of the California Teachers Association.

“It’s very frustrating that this tax credit, which was an acknowledgment that the state is not paying its share, was taken away in the middle of the year,” she said.

Quality Education Data, a Denver-based research company owned by education publisher Scholastic Inc., released a report last year that found that teachers nationwide in grades K-8 spent more than $1 billion of their own money on school supplies. First-year K-8 teachers dug the deepest, spending an average of $701 for supplies, while the average for K-8 teachers nationally was $520.

The study found that the teachers who were more likely to spend above the average were teachers in predominantly Hispanic schools, low-income schools, and schools in Western states.

“It used to be that they bought extras—some fun books for the classroom, or a CD,” Ms. Kerr said. “Now they’re going and buying paper and pencils and the basics.”

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Teachers to Admin: You Can Help Make Our Jobs Easier
On social media, teachers add to the discussion of what it will take to improve morale.
3 min read
Vector graphic of 4 chat bubbles with floating quotation marks and hearts and thumbs up social media icons.
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Missy Testerman Makes Immigrant Students Feel Welcome. She's the National Teacher of the Year
The K-8 teacher prioritizes inclusion and connection in her work teaching English as a second language.
5 min read
Missy Testerman
At Rogersville City School in Rogersville, Tenn., Missy Testerman teaches K-8 students who do not speak English as their first language and supports them in all academic areas. She's the 2024 National Teacher of the Year.
Courtesy of Tennessee State Department of Education
Teaching Profession Teachers: Calculate Your Tax-Deductible Expenses
The IRS caps its annual educator expense deduction at $300. This calculator allows teachers to see how out-of-pocket spending compares.
1 min read
Figure with tax deduction paper, banking data, financial report, money revenue, professional accountant manager abstract metaphor.
Visual Generation/iStock
Teaching Profession Opinion All About Teacher Observations: How to Get Them Right
Educators and other experts offer a decade’s worth of insight on the highs and lows of teacher observations.
5 min read
Collage of a blurred classroom with a magnifying glass over the teacher, sheets of note paper,  and a tight crop of a woman in the foreground holding a clipboard.
Collage by Gina Tomko/Education Week via Canva