Teachers Choice reduced, saved
Teachers Choice is a NYC Department of Education program that gives each teacher, secretary, etc, a chunk of cash to spend under fairly flexible rules. No budgeting categories, less red tape, just make sure the item belongs to some allowable category, make sure it is for classroom use, and attach the receipts.
Last year’s allocation was $220 $260 ($220 the year before – jd 8/5/08) per teacher (different amounts for different titles). This year’s budget cuts (how big are they, really?) threatened the program. In the end, the UFT negotiated a reduction: $150 per teacher.
Now I’ve always had mixed feelings about Teachers Choice. Shouldn’t schools be buying school supplies if they are needed? I know, I know, things work badly in many schools, including purchasing. But aren’t we just letting them off the hook? They are so lousy at doing what they should, that we will do it for them?
On the other hand, Teachers Choice money is often very useful. And why be such a purist – it is money being put to good use. And isn’t that what really counts?
The text of the notice I received is beneath the fold. — >
Even as many City Council program priorities were cut in the final city budget, the Keep the Promises Coalition was successful in salvaging some 60 percent of Teacher’s Choice funds, which had been threatened with elimination.
We wanted you to be among the first to know this year’s amounts.
The Teacher’s Choice allocations are as follows:
- $150 for all teachers;
- $100 for social workers, school psychologists and guidance counselors;
- $50 for school secretaries; and
- $75 for lab specialists.
If you’ve already begun making purchases, you may use receipts that date back to Aug. 1, 2008. The purchasing period ends on March 15, 2009.
Everyone eligible to participate in the Teacher’s Choice program will receive a separate allocation from the DOE in December to cover purchases made anywhere – as long as the purchases are for appropriate educational materials for use in a classroom or other professional assignment.
Remember that unreimbursed spending on school supplies is also tax-deductible.
UFT Staff Director