We have had a lot of questions about the money that will soon be distributed to teachers for classroom supplies.
First, straight from the statute (FSS 1012.71(2)) “… The funds appropriated are for classroom teachers to purchase, on behalf of the school district or charter school, classroom materials and supplies for the public school students assigned to them and may not be used to purchase equipment. The funds appropriated shall be used to supplement the materials and supplies otherwise available to classroom teachers. . .”
That means, this money is not for a printer, but it could be for the paper. It is not for a big whiteboard, but could be for the markers. Sometimes we’ll hear the term “consumables.” That means pens, pencils, even workbooks, but not food; yes, you “consume” food, but that’s not what they mean.
They used to call this LEAD money, so if you hear that term, this is what they mean.
It is usually in the $200 to $250 range. It depends on the legislature and the number of teachers.
SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS. In the spring, you have to show receipts that show you spent the money. This maintains this money as tax-free to you. If you can’t show receipts, you can’t prove the check they gave you went to classroom expenses, so the district has to report it to the IRS as income.
Last year, some principals tried to get teachers to return unspent money. Let us know if this happens. If you don’t want to return unspent money, you should have the option to just have it reported.
However, we suggest you spend the money. We lobby the legislature to get them to give it to us. We make a big deal about teachers having to spend money out of their pockets. So let them know we need it.
You may hear about a debit card option. We don’t do that in Brevard, with good reason. Many teachers spend money in July on their classrooms. We want those expenses to count towards spending the money. If we have to wait until a debit card in September or October, that doesn’t help with start of school stuff.