Scott Gurley, owner of , a teacher supply store, said that ever since he opened his store in 2007 he has seen teachers spend an average of $500 - $1000 a year on school supplies.
“I am certain most of that comes from their own pocket,” Gurley said.
Gurley, an Oakville resident, reached out to Patch shortly after discussion started on our site regarding , who said teachers having to pay for their own supplies in order to do their job was “a lie that’s perpetrated on the taxpayers.”
“I think he’s a little out of touch with his teachers,” Gurley said. “They (teachers) are not coming here to buy toys for their own home. What they are buying are things teachers need.”
Gurley, whose store is located off of Lindbergh in South County, said most of his customers come from the Mehlville, Lindbergh and Fox C-6 school districts. He explained that most of his customers are teachers in preschool through sixth grade who come in to buy materials to enhance the classroom.
“A lot of administrators probably think it’s just decoration,” said Gurley, whose wife, Laura was a teacher for five years. “But these are educational materials that enhance the learning experience.”
Gurley’s store belongs to the National School Supply & Equipment Association, a national group which, among other duties, publishes a report on teachers’ spending on supplies.
The report divides teacher spending into two areas: school supplies and instructional materials.
School supplies, according to the report, are basic items such as glue, paint, paper and pencils, for example.
Instructional materials are items such as workbooks, educational software and games, among others.
According to the 2009-2010 national report, on average, teachers spend a total of $398 on school supplies. On instructional materials, teachers spend $538 for total average of $936 a year.
Gurley says he knows many teachers get only about $100 a year for their supplies.
“That doesn’t even make a dent on their expenditures,” Gurley said.
Gurley said that whether teachers get refunded for their money or not, they are always going to spend more on their students because they care about them.
He said that even if they don’t get all the money they need for supplies from the school, they should still ask for it.
“They may not get it, but they should still ask for it,” Gurley said.
Gurley said teachers should show administrators what a classroom would look like without their personal investment.
"The teachers should ask the administrators to look at the undecorated,
sterile classrooms this summer and ask them, 'Does it look like a healthy,
inviting learning environment?' Then, in August, once all their learning
materials are in place, they should show them their classrooms and say,
'Doesn't this look like a better learning environment for our children?'" Gurley said.
Rich Franz did not return calls or emails seeking comment as of Tuesday night.
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