NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ask any Tennessee public school teacher how much money they spend on students out of their own pockets and you’ll always hear at least “several hundred dollars” and many times “as much as a thousand.”
When she began teaching three years ago, Whitney Holland said it “was more than $1,000.” She needed to to get her Nashville grade school classroom up and running to help her students learn better.
All of that came out of her own pocket.
As some of the many items has bought from her own pocket, the young teacher counts makeshift white boards bought from shower material at Home Depot, a shoe rack to keep and sort classroom assignments, and bags she sewed to hold book materials on the back of student chairs for a her room that does not have traditional desks.
“You have to be creative,” Holland said.
With that in mind, and hearing similar stories from teachers all over Tennessee, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the amount of money teachers get for classroom supplies from $200 to $500 dollars each year.
Lawmakers like rural Republican Rep. Judd Matheny and Nashville Democrat Bo Mitchell, who don’t agree on most issues, are both supportive of the idea, which was scheduled to be heard Tuesday in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
“I am supportive,” said Rep. Matheny, who is from Coffee County, an hour southeast of Nashville. “I hope to encourage others to get on board.”
Similar sentiments came from Mitchell.
“All it does is help the kids and our future,” deadpanned the lawmaker.
And continuing their bipartisan agreement, both the Republican and Democrat agreed that all teachers, not just first year ones, should get some of money for the supplies that come out of their pocket.
Knox County Schools has a collection center for teachers to receive new and used classroom materials free of charge. The Teacher Supply Depot is open four times each school year. To donate supplies, visit the school district’s website.