Alabama teachers grateful for more funding to buy school supplies

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Many Alabama teachers dip into their own pockets to pay for school supplies. Among them is Bridget Weatherford, a fifth grade teacher at Pike Road Intermediate School.

“$10 dollars here. $25 there,” Weatherford explained. “I’ve spent as much as $50 at a stop to the store before.”

Even though the state allots $600 each year per teacher unit for school supplies, Weatherford said she has used her own money to spend an extra $500 before.

“Some people don’t realize the things we have to pay for out of this money. We have to pay for our copies, upkeep on the copy machines like ink,” she said. “Different schools get to choose how their teachers spend their money, so some of our money gets eaten up by those fees.”

Weatherford said she may spend money on posters for a pop-up project that was not planned several months in advance.

Alabama lawmakers recently passed a $7.6 billion education budget, which includes a funding increase for school supplies, bumping the amount up to $700 per teacher.

Some teachers said Wednesday they are thankful for any penny they receive to help teach their students.

“It means a lot. We just appreciate every bit that we can get,” Weatherford said.

Quinetta Howard is a 4th grade science teacher at Pike Road Intermediate School who also spends money out of her own budget for supplies.

“It would really help us with buying circuits and things that kids can really experiment with,” Howard said.

The education budget will also fund a 2 percent teacher pay raise, $24.4 million more for additional pre-k classes, $95 million for a teacher stabilization program, and $50 million for math and science teacher salary boosts.

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