Teachers make personal budget stretch for students

Teachers using their own money for school supplies
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - State public school teachers are just mere days away from the start of school and so many of them are busy prepping their classrooms. But that preparation doesn’t come without a personal cost.

April Ball started teaching 9 years ago and in the very beginning, she spent hundreds of dollars of her own money getting her classroom ready. Ball is still doing that today.

In Ball’s first grade classroom at Central Elementary School, she was straightening books and getting her mind in gear for another school year, another year to say ‘welcome’ to 14 first graders.

“I have to organize my classroom, plan my year,” Ball said.

Ball is entering her ninth year in the classroom and spends hundreds of dollars every August to get it ready.

“I also use that money to pay for my books that I need,” she said.

This year, for example, Ball forked out between two to three hundred dollars for things like bean bags and an organizer. Regrets? Not at all.

“I do for my children. They deserve it. I want to make sure everything is organized for them, just making sure they have what’s engaging for them,” Ball said.

Stretching her personal bank account to make it all work is all par for the course of being a teacher these days for people like Ball.

“Well, for me it’s kind of natural. I set aside funds because I anticipate it. I know it’s going to happen. You know I am going to need my start up for the year,” she said.

Ball estimated the majority of elementary school teachers are doing the same thing, but spending various amounts. But the good thing, according to Ball, there’s a little reimbursement from the state.

“We do receive state funds in October, so that helps a little,” she said.

The start of school is just around the corner with April Ball going the extra ‘financial’ mile to be prepared.

Another thing school teachers look forward to in October - a pay raise of at least 4%.

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