With school around the corner, teachers dig into their own pocket for supplies

School begins in a few weeks in most places, which means there’s a pretty good chance your kids’ teachers are out spending their own money this week on their behalf.

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader today provides a perfect example of what it takes to be a teacher. Among other things, it takes spending your own money.

Teachers can only write off $250 on their taxes when they spend money for supplies for their own classroom.

“You get creative,” teacher Tony Martinet said at a swap meet for school supplies. “You have to.”

Well, technically, you don’t have to. But they do. Why?

“I spend the money because I want my kids to be engaged and to be encouraged to learn,” Vanessa Graning, a second-grade teacher at the new Spanish immersion school, Sonia Sotomayor Elementary, told the paper.

She’s been a teacher for 19 years and spends about $500 a year on supplies.

“When kids don’t have pencils … if you want them to be successful, you need to buy it for them,” Ashley Griese, a fifth-year teacher, said.

“School to me is like a second home,” first-grade teacher Cheyenne Lambley said. “I want my kids to feel that, too.”