Parents, teachers struggle with school supply costs

Posted at: 08/08/2013 8:44 AM
Updated at: 08/08/2013 8:55 AM
By: Nikki Ibarra, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Parents are spending their child's last days of summer vacation shopping for school supplies. But as KOB Eyewitness News 4 learned, they're not the only ones shelling out money for students.

Teachers are spending their own money to buy school supplies. Teachers told KOB it's something they have to do because they don't get much help.

KOB went shopping with a dad and his sons Wednesday to see how much he had to spend on his kids. We wanted to see the difference between what a parent pays and what a teacher pays.

Jason Tsosie is an APS parent. He said sending his two sons off to school prepared is a priority for him.

"When it comes down to it, you know, I really value my children's education. I really want to make sure they have the tools that are necessary for them," he said.

Tsosie hopes to spend about $40 a kid. He said the school supply lists are pretty reasonable for the most part. But sometimes he gets frustrated by the details on the lists.

"They always ask for 24, but whenever we get the pencils when they're packed up, they're always in 20s," added Tsosie.

"I keep it as basic as I possibly can and I ask for basic supplies," said Stephanie DeBellis, a kindergarten teacher with APS.

DeBellis has been teaching for seven years. She can’t put just anything on her list. She has to get it approved by her principal first but whatever she can't ask for, she gets on her own. "It's a little frightening for much of my own money I do spend," added DeBellis.

She said she's spent between $8,000 to $10,000 of her own money throughout her career.

"We get no help. I've been given zero dollars in my teaching career by my district to spend as I deem necessary," DeBellis said.

DeBellis said when she makes the list, she thinks about costs. She hopes the state will step in and help teachers. 

"I know they want to provide the best and that's what I appreciate," Tsosie said. He ended up spending $92.20 on his sons' supplies.