At a party a few years ago, I met a new teacher and we struck up an easy conversation in that when-you-put-any-two-educators-in-the-room-together-we-will-start-telling-stories kind of way. I asked how her year was going and she shared stories about her students.
Lack of a sufficient budget for her classroom came up and she lamented the amounts she regularly spent on her classroom. I smiled and said that the first year is always the most expensive. Also, I reminded her that she should be keeping her receipts for tax time.
“Yes,” I responded, “In the state of Texas, educators are able to deduct a certain amount of classroom expenditures on our tax returns.”
She looked dumbfounded and, I could tell, was mentally calculating all that she’d spent on her room this year.
I told her to talk to her tax professional for more details, and I offered some ideas about what I do.
Tips for classroom spending:
- Set a budget for the year. I determine an amount for the school year and do not exceed that out of pocket. If I find myself without needed supplies, I get creative.
- Buy in August. Anticipate what you and your students may need throughout the year and purchase with back-to-school sales.
- Keep all receipts. I keep my receipts in an accordion file with one section marked “school.” Even if you’re gone over the allotment, keep the receipts in case they come in handy at a later time.
We know that teacher burnout is a large reason talented educators leave the classroom, and we should not add to that the financial stress that can come from outfitting a classroom. Planning ahead for tax season can help.
Allison Venuto is an educator with 12 years of experience in the Dallas area and is the owner of Ducks in a Row Personal Organizing. You can contact her at Allison@DucksInARowDallas.com.