PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Parents nationwide are expected to spend billions of dollars in back to school supplies, but teachers also face hefty price tags as they prepare for the start of a new school year.
Research shows, on average, teachers spend nearly $500 of their own money on classroom-related expenses.
News Leader 9 caught up with some local teachers prepping their classrooms who tell us that they too shell out big bucks to make the first day of school special.
Ever since she was three years old, Abby Sykes knew she wanted to be a teacher, so decking out her classroom for her first year of teaching is extra important.
"I want my classroom to be inviting, and welcoming, and I want the kids to want to be here as much as I want to be here," said Sykes.
However, it comes with a cost. Sykes says she has already spent $500 on supplies, and that's after help from other teachers.
"As a first year teacher I was very thankful that the teacher before me left a lot of books and stuff that I was able to use," said Sykes.
Second grade teacher Jessica Ragan at Phenix City Elementary School is also busy with a long to-do-list, since kids go back to school in Phenix City in less than 2 week.
"Lamination, copy things, get birthdays on the wall, jobs, behavior, all those things we're going to need throughout the year," said Ragan.
She says she has already spent $300 on classroom materials, but that number could climb. Despite the big financial undertaking, she and Sykes say it's worth it.
"It's going to be well worth it when the children get here and when they're excited to see their classroom and when they're really engaged in different materials, because that's really where learning takes place," said Sykes.
School officials say they receive funding and distribute money to each teacher, but some who want to go the extra mile end up paying for materials themselves. However, officials say there are ways to lighten the out-of pocket load.
"Donations from the community and from our parents, to provide us with additional support in the areas where we may be lacking," said Phenix City Elementary School teacher Shuvon Ray.
Phenix City Elementary School recently received attention from the state of Alabama for their parent involvement, and officials say it has helped dramatically in keeping supplies stocked in classrooms throughout the year.