News Bite

Schools Spend $228 Per Pupil On Supplies; Teachers Claim They Spend, Too

A common claim heard from teachers is that they incur significant out-of-pocket costs to buy school supplies needed for their classrooms. The claims are rarely challenged in the media.

Michigan’s public school districts spent $309.8 million in 2018-19 on instructional supplies that does not include textbooks, according to the National Public Education Finance Survey. That comes to about $228 per pupil. The costs of textbooks was another $54 million.

As previously reported by Michigan Capitol Confidential:

“The Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Department of Education have both affirmed that the state constitution mandates that school districts, not school employees, are responsible for providing materials deemed essential for teaching.

“The Michigan Department of Education lists specific examples of what is considered ‘essential,’ including pencils, paper, crayons, scissors, glue sticks and text books.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.