Republican lawmakers and Superintendent Mark Johnson announced a bill Wednesday morning that would give each licensed teacher in North Carolina $400 for school supplies.
The Classroom Supplies to Teachers bill “will provide funds directly to eligible classroom teachers to purchase supplies on behalf of their schools,” according to a release highlighting the bill details.
Charter and independent public schools can choose whether or not they want to participate. If so, they would need to use their available funding.
The bill would take most of the existing money that’s going to school systems for supplies and give it directly to teachers instead. The bill would not increase total funding for supplies.
Teachers will be able to use the $400 to purchase classroom supplies through an account they will create on the ClassWallet app. If they don’t use the app, they can be reimbursed for purchases made locally, according to the release.
Johnson said that the state won’t pay to use the app. Instead, ClassWallet makes its money through the stores where they have agreements.
During last year’s education march in Raleigh, some teachers pointed out that they spend much more than $400 on supplies.
State Sen. Andy Wells (R-Alexander/Catawba) called the bill “a starting point.”
“It’s a starting point. Again, as I said, we’ve got no historical data on which teachers have spent on supplies. Maybe a kindergarten teacher needs more money than a 12th-grade teacher. I don’t know that. There is no data to tell us that. With this program, we’re gonna find out,” he said.
The bill is designed to accomplish two goals.
According to the release, the bill would ensure that every teacher has direct access to funds for buying necessary classroom supplies. The other goal of the bill is to “take advantage of the power of technology to make buying supplies for classrooms as easy as it is to buy products online.”
Any amount of the $400 that goes unused will expire a the end of the fiscal year and be sent to a general fund for the program.
If passed, the program would begin in the 2019-2020 school year.