With kids heading back to school, parents are scrambling to pack lunches, double-check school supply lists, and make sure everyone gets where they need to be on time—right after snapping some first day of school photos.
At the same time, teachers are busy preparing for a successful school year. Preparing lesson plans, arranging classrooms, stocking supplies, and so much more—all to help prepare a healthy learning environment for our children.
Often teachers dig into their own pocket to make sure all students have the supplies necessary for a successful school year. On average, they spend $479 a year on everything from tissues to crayons to pencils and notebooks. That’s just the average with some spending far more of their hard-earned money purchasing supplies that would otherwise not be provided for their classrooms.
Currently, teachers can deduct $250 of the cost of the supplies they purchase for their classroom. Obviously, many of them are spending far more than that.
To help cover those costs, I am proposing we double the income tax deduction for full-time teachers to $500. This would bring the amount they can deduct more in line with what they are actually spending on classroom supplies.
Currently, the deduction is limited to elementary and secondary education teachers. However, with the growth of early childhood education, it only makes sense for pre-school teachers at state-recognized schools to also be able to deduct their expenses.
Many schools rely on teachers who only work part-time. Those teachers aren’t currently eligible to take the deduction either. My proposal would make them eligible, for the first time, to take the deduction on up to $250 of expenses.
Teachers are on the front lines of our children’s futures. They devote their time, energy, heart and soul to our kids. Yet, we ask them to also kick in a bit of their money to ensure a quality classroom learning experience. Our teachers joyfully shoulder the burden of educating our children; the least we can do is help them cover much of that cost.
Sam Graves is the Mo. Sixth District U.S. Representative.