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Inflation increasing costs for teachers returning to school

Posted at 10:35 AM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 13:40:55-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Preparing a classroom comes at cost and unfortunately that cost has gone up this year.

“There's a lot of factors to be involved, you know for science projects, for art projects, that the students can’t buy," said Bo Caballero, a teacher at College Heights Elementary.

Every year, teachers dip into their own pockets for back to school. That includes everything ranging from extra work supplies for students, snacks to have on hand, and classroom decorations.

“I'm doing a Harry Potter theme this year so I'm really excited about it," said Charlene Martinez, a teacher at James Curran Middle School.

While many of these items aren’t required, most teachers feel they’re an important part of the academic process.

This year it’s estimated that teachers will spend on average $560 out of pocket on supplies, up from $511 last year. There are some, like Caballero, expecting to spend over $1,000 throughout the year.

“I think the items I usually buy have tripled [in price] this year," Cabellero said.

Caballero says he likes incorporating visuals and hands on activities into his curriculum and his students tend to respond well to these lessons. However, this year he's noticed the increase in price tags and he believes inflation has even impacted supplies he gets from the district.

"We get one pencil per month, per student. The school supplies that we've gotten the last few years have gotten cheaper. Especially, one example, our scissors. The scissors fall apart," Cabellero said.

While teachers certainly are spending money on items some may consider non-essential, such as decor and prizes, studies shows most money is going to vital items such as books, curriculum, and software.

Some teachers looking to offset costs by asking for a little help from the public.

"That's what led me to start an Amazon Wishlist," Martinez said.

Martinez is about to start the school year as a history and English teacher at James Curran Middle School. To help get some of the supplies she needs, she’s started an Amazon Wishlist and shared it with friends and parents through social media, hoping to get donations.

"I was able to get a lot of things on my list crossed off, and it was 100% donation."

Other ways teachers can receive help is through charities like DonorsChoose and Adopt-A-Classroom. A number of retailers like Target, Michaels, and Barnes and Noble offer educator discounts, just in time for back-to-school.

Even though certain item are provided by schools like hand-sanitizer, wipes, and paper towels, supplies can still be limited and many teachers says it’s always good to have extra on hand.