Teachers pay when kids go back to school

Posted at 9:43 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 00:55:44-04

Parents spend hundreds sending their kids back to school every year. But what they may not realize, every year teachers spend hundreds on classroom expenses, every dime out of pocket.

Posters, books, pictures, and games are spread throughout the classroom.

"I spend about probably five hours [in my classroom] everyday," Wright Elementary Deaf Education teacher Katie Holtvogt said.

Every classroom has its own personality, because every classroom has its own teacher.

"I have spent countless hours laminating and shopping and looking on Pinterest and Amazon," Holtvogt said.

"There were just gaps," Wright Elementary 5th Grade Teacher Charity Pearce said. "Books, I was always buying books because fifth graders need to read."

But it's not cheap, and it's all out of pocket. Teachers spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on classroom decor.

"Last year, I don't know the total specific amount because I don't really want to add it up because I might have a heart attack at the age of 26, but I think i spent about $3,500," Holtvogt said.

"About $300 or $400, maybe even $500," Pearce said.

The best teachers make sacrifices for their students, but should those sacrifices impact their bottom dollar?

"I think 90% of our staff work two jobs to afford it," Holtvgot said.

"I think it's a necessary expense," Pearce said.

It's an active and stimulating environment.

"It is worth every single moment even the bad times and the good times, just making a difference in these kids' lives," Holtvgot said.

The cost is actual dollars, but their reward is even greater, a new batch of student next year and a new batch of expenses. 

You can donate supplies to The Foundation for Tulsa Schools. You can also call your child's school to find their teacher's wish list and see what they need.