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A proposed bill would give every NC teacher $400 to personally buy school supplies

"We want to empower teachers with direct purchasing authority to quickly obtain the resources they need to support their students," state superintendent Mark Johnson said in a tweet.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — North Carolina teachers could soon have a program that would give them $400 to buy classroom supplies. 

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced the North Carolina Classroom Supply Program Wednesday in Raleigh. 

The program is part of Senate Bill 580, or the "Classroom Supplies to Teachers" bill, which would provide $400 per eligible teacher to buy school supplies. 

The bill is sponsored by Catawba County Republican Sen. Andy Wells. 

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Johnson also posted the program on his official Facebook page. 

"Too often, public school teachers feel they must spend their own money on class supplies instead of navigate the procurement and reimbursement bureaucracy," Johnson wrote. "Teachers need earmarked funds specifically for them to purchase resources they deem #necessary for #students."

The North Carolina Classroom Supply Program will provide funds #directly to eligible classroom #teachers to purchase school supplies. We want to #empower teachers with direct purchasing authority to...

If passed, the bill would allow teachers to use the Classwallet app to purchase supplies or be reimbursed for local purchases. The program would begin in the 2019-20 school year.

However, some teachers sounded the alarm. They said the new bill doesn’t provide extra funding, that it only reallocates existing money.

Every year, the General Assembly appropriates $47 million for school supplies, which is given to directly to school districts.

Under the bill, about $37 million would be distributed to teachers -- working out to be $400 each -- and the remaining $10 million will be sent to school districts for large school-wide orders.

Lawmakers said the change is necessary, claiming some school districts have misspent funds supposed to be for school supplies. They said the bill would also give teachers full control to buy specific supplies tailored to their classes needs.


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