February 22, 2024
(The Center Square) — Georgia teachers are expected to spend $96 million of their own money on classroom supplies, more than their counterparts in several surrounding states.

(The Center Square) — Georgia teachers are expected to spend $96 million of their own money on classroom supplies, more than their counterparts in several surrounding states.

A new report from MyElearningworld.com revealed that Peach State teachers plan to spend more than teachers in North Carolina ($77 million), Tennessee ($51 million), South Carolina ($42 million) and Alabama ($38 million) plan to spend. However, Georgia teachers plan to spend less than teachers in Florida ($117 million).

This year, teachers nationwide plan to spend $3.2 billion on classroom items. Teachers can deduct up to $300 of out-of-pocket classroom expenses when filing their federal tax returns.

“Well, first and foremost, federal lawmakers could increase the amount teachers are allowed to deduct on their federal tax returns for classroom supplies,” Scott Winstead, the founder of MyElearningworld.com, told The Center Square. “Right now it’s only up to $300. It was $250 when the incentive first began in 2022. Would it mean more teachers? Doubtful, but it definitely could help soften the blow to teachers’ wallets a little bit.”

Last month, Georgia officials announced a plan to give Georgia teachers a $125 supplement to offset the cost of classroom materials and help students rebound from learning losses suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials previously said they couldn’t confirm the program’s cost until the end of the month.

The supplement comes amid a back-and-forth on teacher pay in this year’s governor’s race. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said he kept a campaign promise to increase pay for teachers.

“During my time in office, we have raised teacher salaries by $5,000, cut certification costs by 67.25 percent, strengthened professional development opportunities for educators, and reduced the number of high-stakes assessments that were creating undue burdens on our teachers and students without sacrificing quality,” Kemp said in a news release last month.

Meanwhile, Kemp’s Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams, said she plans to raise the state base salary for teachers from $39,092 to $50,000.

“We must ensure that Georgia’s children have the resources and support they need from cradle to career,” Abrams said in a release this month. “A critical component of ensuring that our children have a strong early start and the chance at a better future is supporting the teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff who help us grow resilient children.”

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