City to alleviate out-of-pocket costs for teachers with increased funding

One small step for educators.

The City Council, last week, increased funding in the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget for Teacher’s Choice – a program created by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to reimburse educators for the purchase of school supplies and classroom materials – by 27.5 percent.

The new allotment for the program is $12.3 million, up from $9.65 million just one year ago. This is the second consecutive funding increase for the program, which, two years ago, was just over $6 million.

“As a former high school civics teacher, I know quite well that sometimes our students do not have all of the tools they need to succeed,” said former New Utrecht High School educator and current Councilmember Mark Treyger. “Teachers take it upon themselves to do what they can to rectify these problems, because we care about our students. Increasing funding for Teacher’s Choice shows that we as a city care about our teachers, as well.”

According to Treyger, the average teacher spends more than $500 a year on his or her students, and many have expenditures that top $1,000.

“This multi-million expansion of Teacher’s Choice is a great victory for our public school teachers,” added Councilmember Daniel Dromm, chair of the council’s Committee on Education. “These dedicated professionals should not have to regularly dole out hundreds of dollars of their own money for basic supplies. This increase will do much to alleviate the financial burden borne by our teachers for so many years.”

“I want to thank Mark Treyger, and all the former educators on the City Council, and Education Chair Danny Dromm, who understand how much teachers contribute out of their own pocket to make sure New York City’s students have the supplies they need to succeed,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT. “I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her support, and the City Council as a whole, for recognizing the needs of our students and educators.”

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