Teachers turn to online fundraising for back-to-school items paid for out of pocket

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As Tampa Bay teachers rush to check items on their back-to-school list, many are finding it harder than ever to pay out of pocket and are turning to online fundraisers to acquire help.

According to a recent salary.com study, teachers plan to spend an average of $560 on supplies this year, and one in five plan to spend more than $1,000.

“Five-six hundred dollars depending on what I need,” said Vickie Santos-Troche, a ninth-grade English teacher in Hillsborough County. “It’s been very difficult trying to put it all together for day one. It’s been very, very difficult when you think about the rising gas prices and everything else.”

Earlier this summer, Santos-Troche launched a campaign on gofundme.com to try to raise $500, and the community has already donated $170.

According to a gofundme.com spokesperson, the website is seeing an increasing number of teachers turning to crowdsourcing in an attempt to cover classroom expenses.

University of South Florida economist Michael Snipes said it was a symptom of inflation, which hit a 40-year high in June.

“If the price of everything else goes up, well, that means I have less money to buy school supplies in the first place,” Snipes said, adding that careers with relatively stagnant wages are hit harder. . “We wouldn’t necessarily notice a price increase if we had a corresponding wage increase, but we don’t have a corresponding wage increase.”

Although local districts and the state have raised teachers’ salaries, education advocates argue that it’s not enough and they believe teachers are paying the price now.

“Everything that happens to him comes to me, goes straight to class, that’s definitely been a help,” Santos-Troche said. “It allowed me to offset those prices.”

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