INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thousands more students are heading back to school Wednesday throughout central Indiana, including Hamilton Southeastern Schools. It brings up the discussion about the cost of school supplies, and how much teachers pay out of their own pockets.
On average, teachers spend between $800 and $1,500 a year on school supplies. That’s all right out of their own pocket.
Now, they’re wanting parents to start taking accountability for their children’s needs in the classroom and fulfilling those lists.
Kevin Melrose is a social studies teacher at Northwest Middle School. Last year was his first year teaching. Starting salaries begin at $29,000.
Melrose began a part-time job at a bagel shop, knowing he’d need extra money. Last year alone, he spent at least $500 on basic supplies like pencils.
Indianapolis Public Schools started back on Monday and Melrose is already in need of basic supplies for his students.
“I can’t tell you how many times we would begin an assignment and I’d say ‘pencils out’ and I’d look around and there are no pencils to be found,” he said. “You know there are only so many pencils I can give out as a teacher, right? You can’t be upset at a student for not doing work if they don’t have the tools to do it.”
There is some help for teachers in Marion County. Teachers’ Treasures offers teachers from schools with 60% or more of free and reduced lunches to shop cost free. That’s as long as teachers pay the membership fee, which is no more than $25 a year.
Now, that’s not always enough. There is a limit on the number of items teachers can get and how many times a year teachers can shop at Teachers’ Treasures.
Melrose and other teachers in the district are asking parents who are financially stable to go out and purchase supplies.