Every school year, we read stories in the newspapers about teachers who have to spend their own money to buy school supplies for their classrooms. But, it turns out, only part of the story has been in the newspapers.
Taxpayers spend $9.5 billion on K-12 education. And, every year, part of that money – $50 million – is sent to local school boards to pay for supplies for classrooms. But, in the past, that $50 million hasn’t gone straight to classroom teachers. Instead, the money was paid to local school boards – which turned out to be a mistake. Because, all too often, local bureaucrats decided not to spend the money on school supplies.
What did they spend it on? The answer to that question isn’t simple – it varies from school district to school district. But the short answer is bureaucrats used the money to pay for other things on their to do list – and left teachers paying for their own classroom supplies.
When I learned that money appropriated to pay for school supplies wasn’t being spent on school supplies, I asked, Why don’t we send the money straight to teachers? And, this week, we’re introducing a bill to do just that: Under our Senate bill, every licensed teacher in North Carolina will receive $400 to pay for classroom supplies – and bureaucrats will no longer be able to take that money and spend it on something else.