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Study shows that 100% of RI teachers buy classroom supplies with their own money


A new study shows that it is likely that every Rhode Island teacher has bought supplies for their classroom with their own money.

In fact, the study shows that Rhode Island has the highest percentage of teachers buying their own classroom supplies of all U.S. states.

What we know about teachers buying their own supplies

According to a Department of Education survey, 94% of public school teachers paid for classroom supplies without reimbursement between 2014-2015.

But a study by a website called INSIDER has found that Rhode Island had 16,320 teachers in 2016 and 16,620 people took the $250 tax credit for out of pocket school supplies. That means the percentage of teachers who claimed an educator expense deduction was 102%. It’s more than 100% because it includes principles and counselors as well.

Well, we certainly know that RI’s teachers are generous!

INSIDER analyzed Department of Education, Bureau of Labor, and Internal Revenue Service data to determine which states had the most teachers spending money out of pocket. According to the INSIDER’S study:

“On average, … teachers reported spending $479 of their own money, and seven percent of them reportedly spent more than $1,000. These teachers have had to pay for everything from basic pencils and art material to carpeting and even food for their students. In some cases, teachers have even turned to crowdsourcing services like GoFundMe to make up the difference.”


The 20 worst states for teachers having to buy their own supplies

According to INSIDER’s study, these are the 20 states where the most teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies. This includes the percentage of teachers who did so:
1. Rhode Island: 102%
2. Michigan: 93%
3. Louisiana: 88%
4. Connecticut: 86%
5. Delaware: 85%
6. New Hampshire: 85%
7. Florida: 84%
8. Arizona: 84%
9. New Jersey: 82%
10. Georgia: 80%
11. Pennsylvania: 79%
12. New Mexico: 78%
13. Kentucky: 77%
14. New York: 76%
15. Missippippi: 75%
16. Maryland: 74%
17. Alabama: 74%
18. Nevada: 74%
19. Massachusetts: 74%
20. Maine: 74%


Here is how INSIDER conducted their study:

“To find out just how many teachers had to use their own money for school supplies, INSIDER analyzed IRS data on the recipients of a tax program called the Educator Expense Deduction, eligible to any educator who spends their own money on books, supplies, computer software, or other class materials. Educators can qualify for up to $250 in relief, but it’s still a far cry from breaking even for those teachers who spent over $1,000.”

“INSIDER compared the number of federal filers who took the deduction and to the number of primary, middle and high school teachers in each state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This isn’t an exact ratio, since other education workers and administrators are eligible, but it’s a good estimate. It’ll also inexact because some teachers may not know about or not apply for the deduction.”

To read the INSIDER’s full story, visit here.

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