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Bill Aims to Give Teachers a Tax Break for Classroom-Supplies Spending

Guest post by Alyson Klein

This post originally appeared on the Teacher Beat blog.

Teachers who spend their own money on their classrooms would be eligible for a permanent tax deduction of up to $250 worth of folders, stickers, whiteboards, and anything else they need, under a bill passed Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee.

The latest survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association (now known as the Education Market Association) found that the vast majority of public school teachers—a whopping 99.5 percent—spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms and kids. And during the 2012-13 school year, educators spent a total of $1.6 billion of their own money on such supplies. On average, teachers spent $485 a pop, and about 10 percent of educators spent $1,000 or more.

The change is far from a done deal—the bill still needs to get through the full House of Representatives and the Senate. But Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association, which advocated for the change, is a happy camper.

"The fact that educators are doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of their students speaks volumes about the economic struggles families—and educators—continue to face every day," she said in a statement. "We encourage the full House and Senate to make the deduction permanent, index it to inflation, and include professional development as well as classroom materials and supplies."   

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