Cash for the classroom often comes from teacher’s own pockets

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Why would teachers be interested in grabbing cash from an ice rink as they did Saturday during a Stampede hockey game in Sioux Falls?

Teachers across the country spend their own money on supplies for their classrooms, according to multiple reports.

The dash for cash event sponsored by the Stampede was created to give teachers money for classroom supplies, according to organizers. Teachers could grab $5,000 in one-dollar bills

AdoptAClassroom.org said teachers spent $750 on average for classroom supplies in the 2020-2021 school year. AdoptAClassroom.org is a national nonprofit that provides classroom funding to PreK-12 teachers and schools throughout the U.S.

Despite a need for classroom supply money, the dash for cash event in Sioux Falls, drew criticism. Twitter comments included calling the event a representation of how little education is valued in comparison to military spending. Another comment said teachers do the most important job in a democratic society and should not be treated like this.

Teachers spending their own money for school supplies is not a new trend. And it’s money that is not reimbursed, according to the National Education Association.

On average, a teacher spent $459 a year in 2018-2019, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

South Dakota teachers spend $349 on average. The amount is $373 in Minnesota, $361 in Iowa, $353 in Nebraska, $405 in Wyoming and $327 in North Dakota, according to the EPI.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 94.% of South Dakota’s teachers spent their own money for classroom supplies in the 2006-2007 school year. The average amount spent was $313.

The outlook for this school year was not any better for out-of-pocket spending. Ninety-five percent of the surveyed teachers said their classroom budgets from the district will not be enough for the 2021-2022 school year, according to AdoptAClassrom.org.

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The need for teachers to use their own money comes as per pupil funding has declined in many districts, teacher pay has declined or not increased greatly in many areas, and expenses have increased.

The average teacher salary in the U.S. was $61,730 in 2018-2019, according to the NCES. It was $64,703 in 2009-2010. Retirement of teachers who may make the highest wages can also impact the average salary.

Business Insider said the average teacher pay in 2020 was about 0.2% higher than the $63,523 average in the 1999-2000 school year using 2019-2020 dollars.

Wages increased for the 2020-2021 year, according to the NEA. The NEA estimated the average teacher salary was $65,090, which is an increase of 1.5% over the prior year. The average starting salary for 2019-2020 was $41,163, which was an increase of 2.5% over 2018-2019.

South Dakota had increased teacher’s salaries by a double digit percentage since 2015 but dropped to 50th again in average pay at $48,984, according to an April report by the NEA. The state ranks 26th in starting pay at $39,636.

“The Great Recession led to the largest and most sustained decline in national per-pupil spending in decades,” according to a July 2020 report called “Do School Spending Cuts Matter? Evidence from The Great Recession.”

The per pupil funding has not increased greatly since the Great Recession.

Per pupil funding was at $10,608 in 2011 and 2012, according to Ballotpedia.

Per pupil funding increased by 3.2% in fiscal year 2016 to $11,762, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. Census Bureau said in a May 2021 report that per pupil funding increased by 5% during the 2019 fiscal year. Funding increased to $13,187 per pupil from $12,559. The 5% was the largest increase in a decade.

South Dakota’s spending declined from $8,858 in 2010 to $8,805 in 2011. Funding has increased by less than $2,500 since 2011.

South Dakota spent $10,100 per student as of an August 2021 report. That is the lowest of its five neighboring states.

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