AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — It is back to school time and parents are not the only ones spending money on supplies. Many teachers and other school employees spend their own money to buy things for their students, but employees in Amarillo ISD will soon be getting some help.
At last night’s AISD board meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve a one-time stipend to help cover some of those costs.
Each teacher, counselor, nurse, and librarian in AISD will be eligible for this one-time, $125 stipend to purchase student supplies.
“We know for a fact that a lot of our teachers, they are going to spend their own money,” said Amarillo ISD Board of Trustees President, Robin Malone.
Malone said the stipend shows the district acknowledges and supports teachers.
“They’re going to do whatever it takes to make sure that their classroom is successful and it runs smoothly, so the stipend is a way to assist them in that,” said Malone.
Aaron Phillips, an AISD teacher and president of the Amarillo Education Association said teachers are appreciative of the stipend.
“I think it’s a good sign that they’re aware of the issues impacting our staff and our students, and that it’s a step towards making sure we’re taking care of the people who are taking care of our kids,” said Phillips.
Phillips said ultimately he would like to see real, lasting pay raises for teachers so when they purchase school supplies it will not affect their bottom line. He said on average, most teachers in the United States spend at least $400 a year on school supplies.
“I would say that’s probably reflected at the local level as well. I personally know teachers spend far more than that because it’s their passion,” added Phillips.
Phillips said while the stipend is a step in the right direction, the district needs to listen to teachers.
“When we tell the school board what we need, it’s not to whine or complain. It’s to say the State of Texas has underfunded our schools. We’ve got to do more,” said Phillips.
Phillips told us while many teachers are thankful for the extra funds, the stipend is still taxed for federal income taxes and no percentage goes into the teachers’ retirement system.
The district said although this is a one-time stipend, they would like to continue it in the future. Malone said they will have to look into the budget to see if funds are available