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Bill offers help to teachers paying for classroom supplies

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – How many teachers do you know who use their own money to pay for classroom supplies?

A Senate committee will consider a bill Wednesday that will give them a bit of help. House Bill 1005 gives teachers a $200 tax credit for any classroom-related supplies they buy.

The bill passed the full House with a unanimous vote. House Republicans created a video supporting the bill.

It’s authored by Representative Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, who says he watched his mom, an elementary school teacher for more than 30 years, buy supplies for her classroom.

“I watched her and her friends, teachers that I knew, buy supplies for students that forgot them at home, or couldn’t afford them, or needed a spiral notepad or didn’t have a spirit shirt on the day that everybody else was wearing a spirit shirt,” Smaltz said. “It’s incredibly important that we recognize these teachers are spending money out of their own pocket, with no mechanism for reimbursement. It’s important we find a way to help them recover some of those costs.”

Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teacher’s Association, says it’s nice lawmakers are acknowledging the fact teachers often pay from their own pocketbooks. She adds, they wish it would be more, explaining Indiana teachers spend, on average, $1,000 a year for their students.

“It used to be that we bought things like backpacks, or we would buy paper or pencils. Nowadays, in some schools, they [teachers] are actually buying things like toilet paper, tissues, and hand sanitizers and soap, because school budgets have been so impacted, negatively, by some of the changes,” said Meredith.

“We need to reward them financially. This $200 is a great start,” said Smaltz.