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Classroom spending totals finalized for teachers

Teachers will get reimbursed for the first $57 that they spend out of their own pockets on classroom supplies, according to totals posted to the United Federation of Teachers web site last week.

The reimbursements are made available thanks to the City Council as part of a discretionary pot of funds know as Teacher’s Choice. The program was de-funded in 2011 to avert layoffs, but has rebounded slightly in the past two years.

Last year, the pot totaled $3.75 million and teachers were eligible for $41 in reimbursements. This year’s total is $4.59 million and the per-teacher disbursement represents a 40% increase.

The totals are still down steeply from the $9 million the program received in 2010, the year before it was defunded. 

Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the union’s pick for mayor, has promised to restore the program’s funding as a baseline budget item under the Department of Education. His proposal, estimated to cost $15 million, would give every teacher $200 dollars in extra classroom spending.  

Here is how much each school employee will receive under this year’s program (source: UFT):  

  • $57 for all teachers;
  • $37 for social workers, school psychologists and guidance counselors;
  • $20 for school secretaries; and
  • $30 for lab specialists.