“It does start adding up quite a bit” – Teachers Sell and Swap School Supplies

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – According to a Federal Department of Education survey, 94 percent of teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement. This means many teachers are spread thin. Tonight, teachers in South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska are teaming up to cut costs.

“You gotta keep up with the times,” said one teacher.

Teachers are meeting in Sioux Falls to trade and sell their old school supplies to one another.

Many teachers spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000 on their classroom.

“There are a lot of things, extra things, fun things, that we do buy for children so it does start adding up quite a bit,” said Peggy Baney.

Now, Baney is about to start that expensive process of hunting for school supplies all over again.  She was a teacher for 27 years, then she gave away all of her classroom supplies when she became a reading specialist. This fall, she’s headed back to the classroom to teach first grade.

“I’m not sure what I have and don’t have,” said Baney. “I guess when I start putting stuff up on the wall and spreading things out in the room, I’ll know a little bit better.”

While there’s lots of classroom components to dig through, second-hand school supplies can be a big bargain. Teachers can walk away with a handful of books in exchange for pocket change.

“Let someone else use them,” said James Jesser. “It’s all still good stuff.”

Jesser was an elementary school teacher for years. Now, he’s teaching high school special education, and he doesn’t want his old classroom materials to do to waste. Jesser hopes any new teachers kick-starting their careers also experience those special moments where learning comes to life.

“Those ah-ha moments,” said Jesser. “That’s what makes teaching. See you know how I – just you bringing that up makes me emotional, so you know what that’s like for us.”

The Sioux Falls Education Foundation gives a stipend of $200 to first-time teachers in the Sioux Falls School District to help them get on their feet. The foundation says it’s all thanks to a partnership with the Daughters of American Revolution,  a non-profit group.

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