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Teachers Choice reduced, saved

August 1, 2008 am31 7:32 am

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.

LeRoy Barr
UFT Staff Director

6 Comments leave one →
  1. diarykid permalink
    August 2, 2008 am31 2:40 am 2:40 am

    Sounds like a good program – I’m glad you got something, even if it was a little reduced. We get a little money each year, as well. Last year it was $180 — this year it will be $120 (we hope) and it won’t be available until October. We can’t turn in receipts, though. Everything has to be done by purchase order through the school.

    I taught at a school where EVERYTHING – paper, markers, pens, overhead bulbs – had to come out of that money. Impossible. The school where I teach now does provide those things, which allows me to spend my classroom money on things like instructional aids & technology.

  2. August 2, 2008 am31 5:07 am 5:07 am

    What state/district is that?

  3. irrational permalink
    August 2, 2008 am31 9:22 am 9:22 am

    We get $200 a year–period. Apparently, everything I need for every year will cost under $200. Almost all of us end up spending the bulk of that money on copy paper because we have to provide that also. Oh well. In all reality, I’m a cheapskate, and if I HAD to make it on that $200 budget, I think I could, but the kids would not have as many interesting manipulatives and projects to work with. But you know, who needs that stuff anyway? :)

  4. The Anti~Diva permalink
    August 9, 2008 am31 9:35 am 9:35 am

    I’m appalled !!! Last year the $230 I received was not enough, especially considering that I teach Special Education Mathematics (HS level). How in the world did they (the powers that be) decide that I should recieve less than general education teachers. Aren’t all students entitled to the same or equivalent resources. NYC DOE is a friggin joke with this teacher choice crap. So now, we make due with $150 for the enire year. This would make sense if we taught the same course each year. Then the $150 could be used to add to what we already have, right?
    NYCDOE = SSA (ass backwards)

    check out my blog:


  1. Teachers Choice - spend it now « JD2718
  2. Teachers’ Choice cuts mean more out-of-pocket spending on schools | GothamSchools

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