Inflation hits teachers as they prep classrooms

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 7:41 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -A regularly glossed-over topic about teacher preparation is how much of their own money they spend on classroom school supplies.

During the 2020-21 school year, teachers spent an average of $750 out of their own pockets on school supplies. This was a 25 percent increase since 2015 when,, started surveying teachers across the US. They found that 30 percent of teachers paid about $1,000 or more on necessary school supplies.

With the rise in prices, some teachers in the Rapid City Area Schools District started to budget to make sure that they don’t spend more than they need to.

“So far this year, not as much as in previous years, I’ve spent less than a hundred dollars. Other years, it depends on what my class workload is and what I need to get the year started,” said Sabrina Henriksen, an RCAS teacher.

A common misconception is that teachers use this money to buy non-essentials for their classrooms. But the reality is a lot of that money goes into buying supplies students can use if they forget or don’t have certain classroom necessities.

Items teachers need for the school year:

  • Books
  • Furniture
  • PPE, Cleaning, or Safety Equipment
  • Technology (i.e. headphones, laptops, chargers, etc.)
  • Basic Schools Supplies (i.e. pencils, paper, markers, etc.)

“Most of the big stuff I do with labs we buy the previous year, and we actually get through the district which is really nice but things that come up when we change plans aren’t always covered,” said Michael Herren, an RCAS teacher.

The plans Herren talks about aren’t always covered and are the ones some kids need the most. Sometimes these needs can be fairly pricey but necessary for students to find success in the classroom.

With the cost of everything rising, teachers don’t think they should be the ones footing the bill for certain items that are necessary. Some of them believe that either the school helps with the bulk of it or they should get paid more.

“We need more money in our schools so that they can function and help kids in a better way. There are a lot of things going on in the community that kids don’t have access to or are struggling with. We don’t have the funds to properly help them,” said Jesse Sporrer, an RCAS teacher.

Teachers are now spending about 37percent more on school supplies than they were back in 2015 according to But as teachers are having to spend more on supplies their salaries are being left behind.