Posts tagged "teachers’ choice"
June 28, 2012
A quarter-century-old program to give teachers pocket money for classroom supplies will get City Council funds this year after being zeroed out in 2011.
Last year, the council cut the Teacher’s Choice program after pledging extra funds to avert thousands of teacher layoffs. The union, which helped launch Teacher’s Choice in the 1980s and had advocated annually for its continuation, said it was disappointed in the decision.
But this year, with the size of the city’s teaching corps actually set to rise, the council revisited the program and awarded it $3.75 million dollars.
The size of that allocation comes nowhere close to what the program received even in the lean years before it was zeroed out. Two years ago, Teacher’s Choice got $9.25 million, and it received $13 million in council funds the year before that.
That means individual teachers are set to receive only a pittance. In 2007, before the annual cuts began, each teacher got about $220, and the last time the funds were allocated, teachers took home about $110. This year, teachers are likely to receive just over a third of that, or about $40. (more…)
June 28, 2011
A program that helps teachers pay for classroom supplies is set to be shut out of City Council funds.
For more than a quarter of a century, the council has assigned some of its discretionary funds to the Teacher’s Choice program, which gives teachers a small amount of money to buy supplies. Even in tough budget years, the council has always directed some funding to Teacher’s Choice: Last year, the program received $9.25 million. The year before, it got $13 million.
But when this year’s list of discretionary expenditures, called Schedule C, was released today, Teacher’s Choice was nowhere to be found. That means that teachers will be on the hook for classroom expenses that previously would be reimbursed. Last year, teachers got $110 each; in 2007, they got up to $220.
Teacher’s Choice isn’t completely out of the running until the council makes its Schedule C expenditures official when it approves the city budget. That must happen before Friday, when the new fiscal year begins, and appears likely to happen sooner, even tonight.
UPDATE: “We’re obviously disappointed in the loss of Teachers’ Choice,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew in a statement. “Our members always dig into their own pockets for the supplies their students need; next year, while the city carries over a multi-billion dollar surplus and millionaires get a tax break, teachers will have to dig even deeper.” The union helped launch Teacher’s Choice in the 1980s and had advocated annually for its continuation. (more…)
November 24, 2008
New York City teachers who are getting smaller reimbursement checks this year could look to one California teacher for a new idea.
To finance photocopying costs when his school district cut funding, Tom Farber, an AP Calculus teacher, sells ad space on tests and quizzes. Parents and local businesses actually pay for ads, the Union Tribune (more…)
August 5, 2008
It’s unfortunate that in a year when many people are feeling the economic crunch, teachers in the city will likely have to spend more out-of-pocket on classroom expenses, thanks to cuts to Teachers’ Choice funding. The Teachers’ Choice program reimburses teachers for the purchase of supplies ranging from art, science, and physical education equipment to basic office supplies, classroom libraries, and computer software.
Teachers’ Choice was eliminated altogether in this year’s first budget proposal, but thanks to City Council discretionary funds, 60 percent of Teachers’ Choice funding was restored in the final budget. This year, JD2718 writes, teachers will receive $150 (down from $220 last year), social workers, school psychologists, and guidance counselors will get $100, school secretaries $50, and lab specialists $75.
It’s absolutely better than nothing, and I understand that hard choices must be made during economic downturns, but New York’s teachers will certainly feel the pinch. When I was teaching, I could spend my allocation in a single trip to Staples, stocking up on basic supplies that my students would use all year: enough markers, scissors, and bottles of glue that each lab group could have their own, class sets of rulers marked with both metric and standard units, meter sticks, and much more. My school provided basic supplies, but Teachers’ Choice money gave me the flexibility to buy exactly what I needed and keep it in my own classroom where I could make sure it was kept in good condition (not a guarantee when supplies are shared among a whole school, unfortunately). Other schools are much worse about providing supplies; over the years I’ve met a number of teachers who bought small photocopiers because they were paying to have hundreds of copies made when their schools ran out of paper, severely limited photocopying, or failed to repair broken copiers.
The decrease in Teachers’ Choice funding will hurt the newest teachers the most, as a greater proportion of their salaries tends to go to supplies. New teachers are paid least and have not yet accumulated a store of materials for the classroom, as more experienced teachers have. Also, with more years in the classroom, many teachers learn tricks to minimize purchases and keep costs down.
Nationally, Scholastic Administrator reports, teachers spend an average of $475 on supplies, with elementary school teachers spending the most. Teachers can claim a $250 federal tax credit for purchasing materials for school, without needing to itemize their spending, yet for most that is barely half of what they spend on their classrooms.