READFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - As teacher Jill Watson walks around her classroom she can point to item after item she
paid for out of her own pocket.
Watson teaches special education at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Maine. A state curtailment in December froze the school budget so when her students need something, she buys it. The total; $2,000.
Watson says she's hardly alone. She says a survey of teachers in her district showed most educators spend between $200 and $2,000 out of their own pocket on school supplies.
In order to ease the burden on teachers, some lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would give teachers a five hundred dollar tax credit for money they spend on school supplies. Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall presented the bill to the taxation committee telling them this bill would be a positive signal to Maine's teachers that the legislature supports them.
The bills sponsors don't expect opposition to the idea of giving teachers a tax credit, but it will come down to money. If 30 thousand teachers take advantage of a 500 dollar tax credit that's 15 million dollars the state isn't getting.
It's believed the true cost of the tax credit will be closer to 10 million but if lawmakers chose to cut education to make up that money...supporters say that's not a good trade-off.
Jill Watson says the tax credit would be a meaningful gesture, but even better would be the ability to worry more about what a student needs and less about what schools can't afford.