NJ Teachers Could Soon Write Off School Supplies

Directly Above Shot Of Various School Supplies On Table

Photo: Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / EyeEm / Getty Images

New Jersey teachers and paraprofessionals may soon be able to deduct up to $250 in unreimbursed expenses for classroom supplies from their income taxes. The state's Senate Education Committee has advanced a bill, S-1980, that would allow for such deductions. The move comes in recognition of the significant out-of-pocket expenses educators often incur to supply their classrooms.

"It is no secret that teachers pay a significant amount of money out of pocket each year to stock their classrooms and support their students’ success," said Senator James Beach (D-Camden/Burlington), one of the bill's sponsors. "This legislation will allow them to deduct some of that spending from their taxes, similarly to how any business owner would deduct their expenses. We hope that this can ease some of the financial burden taken on by our educators."

The bill's advancement follows a report from the National Center for Education Statistics revealing that New Jersey teachers spend an average of $471 of their own money on school supplies without reimbursement. The proposed tax deduction is seen as a step towards addressing this issue.

"Purchasing supplies and materials to stock classrooms has become a real financial challenge, which can be especially burdensome on young teachers starting from scratch," said Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), another sponsor of the bill. "While there is a larger conversation to be had around the inequity of teachers spending their own money to supply their classrooms, this is a step in the right direction."

The bill now awaits a final vote by the full Senate.

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