Bill in Legislature Would Reimburse Teachers for Back to School Expenses

Teacher with his pupils in classroom using tablet pc

Teacher with his pupils in classroom using tablet pc

Nobody said being a teacher was cheap.

Help could be on the way for Texas educators, who routinely shell out big bucks to buy classroom supplies, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

A bill being debated in the House Education Committee today would reimburse some of it.

"A school district shall reimburse each classroom teacher employed by the district who teaches students enrolled at or below the sixth grade level up to $600 per school year for the cost of classroom supplies purchased by the teacher with the teacher's personal money for the benefit of those students," HB 54 reads.

The bill is one of more than a dozen pieces of legislation on the docket, today, but unlike most, Shelley Potter, head of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers, says it could make an immediate impact.  She's spending the week meeting with teachers who are getting ready for the year.

"I was talking with a young man who is going to be a middle school English teacher," she says.  "The first thing he was telling was he was heading over to Half-Price Books because he wanted to build up his classroom library."

She says the supplies range from books and decorations to additional instructional supplies that are not provided by the district.  That $500 to $600 reimbursement the state is considering, she thinks, is average.

"In low-wealth districts, where per-pupil funding is not at the level it should be because of the school finance system at the state level, you're seeing teachers spend more out-of-pocket," she explains.

The committee is looking at that, as well, with bills to form committees to study the shortcomings of the Texas school finance system.

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