California Politicians Stick It To Teachers

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by NATO AIR, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. NATO AIR
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    NATO AIR Senior Member

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    how much corporate welfare (or unnecessary social welfare) was given instead of saving the school supplies' tax credit?

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/EDUCATION/09/16/school.supplies.ap/index.html

    Teachers lose tax breaks for class expenses
    Thursday, September 16, 2004 Posted: 9:20 AM EDT (1320 GMT)

    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- If Doreen Seelig pocketed all the money she has spent on classroom supplies over 35 years as a teacher -- the printer cartridges, the paper, the pencils and the paperback books lent to her Venice High School students -- she figures she would have a new car by now.

    Now, as the new school year gets under way, the burden on Seelig and other teachers around the country is even heavier.

    Because of a budget crunch, California has suspended a tax credit that reimbursed teachers up to $1,500 for classroom supplies. Meanwhile, a $250 federal tax deduction for teachers that helped defray out-of-pocket spending expired this year.

    Seelig said she will still buy hundreds of dollars worth of basic materials that districts do not provide. And she will still drive her 1991 Acura.

    "What are we going to do, tell the kids, 'Sorry, there's no paper today,' or tell them they can't print because there's no ink?" Seelig asked. "I know I couldn't do it."

    Teachers around the country often reach into their own pockets to buy school supplies for themselves or their students, either because the school system does not provide the money, or because they feel sorry for youngsters from poor homes who come to school without the things they need.

    Parent-teacher organizations and private groups often donate supplies, but educators say poor districts still come up short.

    For young teachers at the lowest end of the pay scale, the loss of the tax credits is particularly hard.

    "The end of the tax benefits is effectively a tax increase for teachers -- people who spend thousands of their own dollars each day for their classrooms and who don't deserve a tax increase," said Barbara Kerr, president of the California Teachers Association.

    'It's the kids who end up suffering the most'
    Nationwide, teachers spent an average of $458 on school supplies, according to the National School Supply and Equipment Association, a Maryland-based trade group.

    The National Education Association and some lawmakers are working to reinstate the federal teacher deduction, which was introduced in 2002 but expired at the end of 2003. Teachers are still entitled to write off business expenses, like other taxpayers, but the amount they spend often does not meet the threshold for taking a deduction.

    By ditching its tax break, California joined most of the rest of the nation. National teacher organizations do not keep track, but it appears few states now offer teachers any relief at all.

    Arkansas, for example, requires that school districts reimburse teachers for up to $500 of out-of-pocket expenses. Texas officials have allocated $3 million to compensate public school teachers. Between that and local government funding, Texas teachers might reach $400 worth of reimbursements this school year.

    Even when tax breaks are proposed, as in Arizona last year, the teachers' lobby may be opposed, saying the solution is more state money for education.

    Karl Kaku, an English teacher at Fresno High School for 10 years, said he spent $200 on supplies before this year's classes had even started.

    "Stuff to write with, stuff to write on, pens, paper, overhead transparencies, overhead markers, ink cartridges," said Kaku, who makes $56,000 a year. "Some years, there's some money. Others, there's nothing. This year there's nothing."

    In the Canoga Park section of Los Angeles, teacher and expectant mother Jennifer Flores said she has already rationed her spending. "We'll do without some of the things I would usually buy," she said. "And the worst thing about it all is that it's the kids who end up suffering the most."

    The California credit was first offered in 2000 as a way to keep teachers from quitting. Teachers with four to 11 years in the profession received $250 to $500. Those more experienced could receive up to $1,500.

    The credit was suspended in 2002 as state legislators battled a budget gap. It was resurrected for the 2003-04 tax year, at a cost of $180 million to the state. Last month, legislators suspended the relief until 2007. Parent and teacher groups, as well as private companies, are scrambling to cushion the blow.

    The Los Angeles teachers union recently teamed up with a Spanish-language radio station in asking donors for such things as glue sticks, pencils, crayons, manila folders, even socks and underwear for poorer districts.

    One Web site, iLoveSchools.com, matches teachers around the country with donors. The nonprofit organization, launched in July, said it has received about $90,000 in donations.
     
  2. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    This is so typical. We will give big business tax breaks for corporate jets, vacation homes, etc as "business expenses" but we don't allow teachers to take a tax credits for making sure their students have paper and pens.

    Typical. Pathetic.

    acludem
     
  3. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    Telus donated school bags full of supplies to each child that attends my daughters school this yearwhich probably saved me about $40.00. Someone else also buys each child who completes grade 6 a new bike, helmet and lock every year (I forget the donars name). THe generosity and willingness to help that exsists within this community is something I've never seen before, and inspires ME to want to give something back. Wealthier people and business owners have taken over where the government has cut back, which is a good thing because a lot of the kids really have nothing.
     
  4. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Corporation enjoy tax incentives for producing revenue, government agencies don't produce tax revenue.
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I agree Said1. My children were lucky enough to always be in 'wealthy' school districts, yeah we didn't have the housing we could have in a 'less expensive area' but it's all about choices.

    Since 9/11, the state has had much less money to spread around, rightly in my opinion, they have cut back on the wealthier districts more. 2 years ago, our high school district, advised us that they were going to have to eliminate several programs, that were extra curricular, as they did not have the dollars to fund them, and they were not cutting back on academic programs. The parents got together and raised/donated the money to keep all in place. They recognize the worth of school sponsored activities. This year, the district has the money, so fundraising is over for that stuff. In the meantime, there was no increase in taxes.

    I teach in private school, contrary to public perceptions, that doesn't mean more money for teachers or students. 3k tuition does NOT cover the cost of educating a child, just look at how much the public schools spend per student. My district at the grammar school level is at $16,700 and for high school $18,900. (Just like college). What that means is that we do not have the science labs, extensive library, etc. Now we do have parents that have the money and inclination to help. The junior high has received over the past 3 years, 40 laptops with wireless internet. One of the parents that owns a computer consulting company, programmed and wired the school for wireless.

    In one of the classrooms the blackboards were in such bad shape, that the principal used 'blackboard paint' to try and refresh them, it didn't work well-they look perpetually dirty. The classroom parents decided to put in whiteboards for the room-$1500 worth.

    Much better to look at 'citizens', 'parishioners', 'members' than the government.
     
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  6. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    I have a friend who teaches at a private school, and I was very surprised to hear she made less money than with the Ottawa/Carleton Board.

    At one time the Catholic Board was seperate from the public board, and had a lot more money. THey have amalgamated both school boards, which was supposed to mean more money, benefiting everyone, but obviously, that's never the case. There is a lot of big money in the area, but they send their kids to the seriously over crowed french school along with their financial support. The odd child can't hack the immersed program, so their parents pay to bus them over to another alternative school in the next district. My daughter's school has some very generous donars, but there aren't any afterschool programs such as sports, art, chior ect.
     
  7. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    In US, private school teachers have always been seriously underpaid, especially church affiliated. While the congregation/parents will pony up for extras, not doing for salaries. I make less than 30k. In public schools, with my experience and education I would be at close to 50k, in this area. With my Masters' closer to 60k.

    Parent's do give 'gifts' at Christmas and end of year. Most are 'gift cards' though some are cash. I figure I gain about $500 from gifts, and the parents really like me. As you can see, doesn't make up for the short fall...
     
  8. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    My great aunt worked on her degree for at least 10 years. She took a course at a time all year round, and had to drive an hour each way to get to classes. Her salary went from 25-55k when she finally fininshed. She retired 5 yrs later with a nice fat pension (based on last five years salary). She taught spec ed in rural Ontario through out most of her career. She swears she could teach a dog to read, and probably could, the women is relentless and shows no mercy.

    $500 isn't bad, but your right, teacher do not get paid enough!
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Considering how bad the teachers are doing, for the most part I'd say they were overpaid, at least in our public schools. It is an unfortunate truism that those that can't, teach. This is less true for secondary teachers, but not entirely. Too many fall back on platitudes, rather than actually keeping their skills up to date.
     
  10. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    It's a shame for those who (like you) do take their jobs seriously. We all remember the teachers who can, and those who can't. It's a hard job regardless of intentions. The thought of teaching 14 yr olds math literally makes my skin crawl.
    This was me in high school: :gives: :rock: :boobies: :smoke: :dev2:

    Not necesarily in that order, I was never a slave to routine. :D
     

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