News Bite

Teachers’ Claims Of Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Goes Against State Law

Detroit Free Press columnist claims Detroit teachers ‘forced to buy their own supplies’

Detroit Free Press sports columnist Jeff Seidel stated in a recent column that he has “found countless teachers who care so deeply about their students that they were forced to buy their own supplies to outfit their rooms.”

Seidel’s claim refers to the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The claim is a regular feature of the statewide media’s school coverage and is often repeated with no apparent inquiry or investigation into its veracity.

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.”

Documents posted on the Detroit Public Schools Community District website show how much the district spends at businesses that sell school supplies.

For example, in one 24-day period in July and August of 2018, Detroit schools spent $397,430 at School Specialty Inc., Arrow Office Supply and Office Depot.