Teachers Pay Big For A+ Classrooms

For the last 5 years, Kristy Slocumb has emptied her heart and soul into teaching... and one more thing... her wallet.

"I could easily say I spend five hundred to a thousand dollars every year. I buy name tags and stickers and charts and all the things we put on the wall, snacks, anything. Anything they have to use, we pretty much buy it.

She says the schools have no budget for extras in their classrooms. It's up to them if they want to spend the money for more "kid friendly" rooms.

"When you first walk in, it's just white walls and how comfortable is that? We've got to turn that around and make that comfortable so they kids can enjoy it and feel like it's their own."

In the past, teachers got a $250 dollar federal tax write off for their classrooms. But this year, that tax break is has expired.

"I don't think that's fair at all because of how much money we put into it to make the kids happy and feel comfortable."

In addition to extras for the classroom, some teachers end up buying school supplies for students.

"The parents would say well we'll get something in a week or two when we get a paycheck and you'll just get two or three pencils which last about a week or two and maybe a notebook. Then the kids feel awkward because everyone else has markers or glue and they don't."

Kristy says it's those students who make spending hundreds of dollars a little easier.

"It's worth it. It's a calling and a gift, and I would continue doing it if I had to and I obviously will.

TISD officials tell us, teachers have access to a school wide supply room. Each year they are allowed 150 dollars worth of supplies and teaching and instructional aids. After that it's up to each campus to give stipends at certain stores, and ultimately up to the teachers themselves to buy anything more.

Reporting: Braid Sharp bsharp@kltv.com