In new digital ads launched this week by the Stand Up for Students referendum campaign, Maine teachers describe in detail how a lack of adequate school funding has often led to them to pay for school supplies out of their own pockets.
“When I have a student who wants to read a book, and we don’t have that book, it’s so important for me for them to be connected to a book that they want to read, that I will go to Barnes and Noble and I will buy books, and I’m not the only teacher who does that,” explains Tamara Ranger, a reading intervention teacher at Skowhegan Area Middle School and Somerset County’s Teacher of the Year.
Other teachers in the ads describe buying presentation supplies, art prints and even food for their students who come to school hungry. Others describe having to limit basic classroom supplies like markers, paper and desks.
Studies show that almost all teachers buy supplies with their own money, spending an average of $500 each every school year across the country.
The Stand Up for Students initiative, Question 2 on November’s ballot, would increase funding for classroom instruction in local schools by creating a new tax surcharge on income in excess of $200,000 a year. Maine’s wealthiest currently pay a lower effective tax rate than Mainers at other income levels.