Proposal would increase teacher supply deduction

Published 10:55 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation to increase the amount schoolteachers can deduct for classroom supplies to $1,000 per year.

The Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act of 2023, is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Illinois, and the companion bill is sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

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A survey showed that 94% of public-school teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement and one in 10 teachers report spending more than $1,000 on supplies to run their classroom while teachers spend an average of $820 annually out of pocket on school supplies.

The deduction limit was $250 until 2022, when the amount was allowed to adjust to inflation to $300 per year.

“I come from a family of public educators, and time and time again I saw them gladly spend their own limited income on their students,” Burchett said in a statement. “The federal government has no business putting such a low cap on what teachers can deduct from their taxes when they are being so generous with these kids.”

The bill comes a per-student expenditures have risen nationwide from an average $13,601 spent per student in 2010-11 to $14,789 in 2019-20, a 9% increase.

Tennessee’s new school funding formula, the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement, dictates that $200 be set aside per K-12 teacher at a public school or public charter school each school year.

The funds from taxpayers must be used for classroom instructional supplies and any funds not used will be pooled at each school to be used for supplies for teachers. The pooled funds also can’t be used for building capital needs or improvements.

A bill earlier this year to increase that amount to $500 per teacher per year from a pair of Tennessee Republican lawmakers didn’t make it out of committee.