- 31 teachers from 19 different states revealed to Business Insider how much of their salary they spend on school supplies.
- Some teachers spend thousands of dollars a year on their classrooms.
- Salaries for teachers vary. One Mississippi teacher makes $35,000 a year. A teacher from Massachusetts with over 30 years of experience reports an $80,000 annual salary .
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Due to dwindling public-education funding, public-school teachers sometimes shell out hundreds of dollars for classroom chalk and pencils out of their own pocket.
A dozen states spend less on schools than before the 2008 recession, according to a 2019 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Teachers earn less in 42 states than they did a decade ago.
Many public school teachers have taken to social media to ask for help paying their classroom supplies. The viral #clearthelists campaign began last month after teachers asked strangers and celebrities to buy supplies off their Amazon wish lists. Many of these lists include classroom basics like chalk, crayons, and markers.
Business Insider spoke with 31 public-school educators across the country to find out how much of their salary is being spent on school supplies. We asked them to answer the questions, "How much do you make? Do you spend any money on school supplies? If so, how much?"
While the federal government reports that teachers spend an average of $500 on school supplies, some teachers told us they spend as much as $1,000.
Teachers working in public schools in 19 states were included in this list. Some teachers chose to answer anonymously or just use their first name. Business Insider verified all identities with school badges and emails.
These are the responses 31 teachers gave to the survey question "How much do you make?"
[Editor’s note: Some of the responses have been lightly edited for clarity.]
"I make $68,000 a year and I spent at least $500 to $1000 on supplies." — A middle school teacher in New York who wished to remain anonymous
"$38,000/year. Yes, about $200 of my own money each year, but I could spend much more." — Vanessa, an elementary school teacher in Florida
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
"I make $55,000 a year right now and get about a 2% raise per year. I have 9 years of experience with a master’s degree in educational leadership. I do not spend my own money on school supplies. I am lucky enough to have a departmental budget for those things." — A high school teacher in Ohio who wished to remain anonymous
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