Teachers in Tampa Bay are having a hard time purchasing school materials because of inflation.
As Hillsborough County middle school teacher Paige Suhay said, “it’s gotten to the point that teachers were moving in with other teachers at a school here just so we can pay our own bills.”.
“It is a little stressful just figuring out where the funds are going to come from,” said Kelly Martins, a first grade teacher in Pinellas County.
Tampa Bay-area teachers are preparing for the new school year and are discovering that supplies are more costly than they were in previous years.
“This year it might be quite different, I might be sticking to 18 or 20 of things rather than buying 25 and making sure I have extras,” said Martins.
Inflation is a significant contributing factor. “With inflation being at the rate that it is right now number one we don’t know if our teacher assistance is going to reflect that inflation, and we are going to be getting a lot less for our dollar this year,” said Martins.
According to Martins, she generally gets roughly $300 from the Pinellas County School District for materials, but she always ends up spending more than that on her own. “I think last year I spent about $418 dollars and that was my total, and then that doesn’t include the stuff I do throughout the school year as well,” said Martins. “Nobody understands how much that goes over. I average in a conservative year, $1,300 to $1,500,” said Suhay.
As Suhay explains, she often needs to purchase things that others don’t even consider. “We have to buy our own brooms, dust pans. I bought non-slide, no-slip rugs so they can wipe their feet,” said Suhay.
Teachers are now turning to social media to raise money for their classrooms by pleading for contributions. “I think the biggest thing that we need are books and rich texts for our students to read,” said Martins.
The following article is paraphrased, the original publications can be found here: https://tampa.cbslocal.com/2022/07/08/teachers-struggle-to-get-school-supplies-with-inflation-1/