Back to School spending can add up for teachers

Posted at 1:19 PM, Aug 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 16:19:16-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - San Diego County teachers are finding themselves strapped for cash as the new school year starts.

The average teacher spends $600 of their own money on their students, according to non-profit group

The money is spent on classroom items including writing utensils, art supplies, and technology.

While established teachers can re-use items, new teachers have to start from scratch.

Kate Harvey-Bishop, the PTA President at Chula Vista's Rosebank Elementary, spoke with a South Bay teacher who invested a considerable amount of her paycheck during her first year.

"Finding out that she spent $5,000 out of her own pocket just to try and create a classroom surrounding was pretty heartbreaking," said Harvey-Bishop.

Organizations like the PTA step in where they can.  Harvey-Bishop and other active parents are distributing $100 grants this fall to offset the burden on teachers.

Rosebank Elementary is a Title I school, which receives additional government funding.

That grant can be a mixed blessing for schools, said parents.  Although students have access to technology, like the tablets that are distributed to Rosebank students, they don't come with headphones. That can create a noisy classroom experience, said Harvey-Bishop.

Rosebank Elementary has additional help for the 2017-2018 year from VH1's Save the Music Foundation.  The school's music program will have instruments, thanks to the corporate grant. formed in 1998 to patch holes in school districts' budgets.  The website received $3.35 million for teachers last year.  100% of every donation went to the teachers, said the group's Devon Karbowski.

A search of the website yielded pleas from dozens of San Diego County teachers, requesting everything from books to money for field trips.

So how can you help? Contact your child's teacher to find out what's on his or her wish list, said Harvey-Bishop.

"Any little bit helps for them, trust me.  Any little bit helps," she said.