Teachers spend up to $1,000 out of their own pockets for classrooms

Teachers prepare for weeks leading up to the first day of school, and many spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pocket for their students and classrooms.

The Texas legislature passed a bill giving Texas teachers raises and increasing student funding. Even with those changes, teacher salaries in the state remain below the national average.

According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, 94% of teachers spend their own money. On average, teachers spend about $479 on classroom supplies. But 7% spend more than $1,000, the survey found.

The Houston Federation of Teachers, the largest union representing HISD educators, is stepping in to help with funding. 

Andy Dewey, the federation's vice president, says they are working with a group of HISD teachers to calculate just how much they are spending this school year, and then plan to present their findings during budget meetings next year. The hope is that these figures will help get teachers a stipend from the district for classroom supplies and decorations.

In the meantime, many teachers have been turning to social media with the hashtag #ClearTheList. They have been sharing links to their Amazon wishlists, where people can go and purchase things for the teachers' students and classrooms.

The response has actually been positive, with strangers helping out teachers they don't even know.