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Inflation affects teachers' school supply budgets

Many schools return to classes this week.
Posted at 9:24 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 22:24:05-04

FOND DU LAC — The inflation rate is currently at 8.5%, a high not seen since the 1980s. And with the new school year starting, teachers are feeling the pinch.

“As things increase, you know inflation, our budget doesn't increase for this year," Julie Miller, a second-grade teacher at Faith Lutheran School in Fond du Lac said.

Miller said she receives $100 per year to spend on classroom materials but often spends more.

“You're gonna find out that teachers are spending, you know, money out of their pocket," Miller said. "And that's alright. Because, you know, we want to give the kids what they need in order to succeed and get a quality education.”

But quality education is coming at a higher price tag, forcing teachers to adapt.

“You don't get as much, you know, as much bang for your buck," Miller said. "So what do you have to do? You have to be resourceful. Look in the clearance. Go to the thrift stores."

Some teachers, like Faith Lutheran preschool teacher Melissa Gudex, even make some of their own classroom decorations to save costs.

Gudex said she's had parents come to her with financial concerns.

“We actually had parents actually say that they can afford things this year," Gudex said. "And so then either it comes out of our budget or us teachers actually go out and buy it.”

The economy can even influence parents' decisions about when to start their child's education.

“We also noticed that we had some preschool families that decided not to come back," Gudex said. "They actually bowed out and said we can't afford it this year.”

Inflation doesn't discriminate—financial hardships persist from preschool to high school. While high school students may not need crayons and glue sticks, there are other financial issues that come to light.

"At this high school level, probably the biggest impact will be in meals in our lunches," Phillip Janke, an administrator, and teacher at Winnebago Lutheran High School said. "We have a lunch program, and the cost of that program will continue to go up as food prices continue to go up.”

Janke said the price of inflation is often blunted by the school's use of online resources. Having materials online through Chromebooks that come with tuition reduces the need for parents to spend on physical supplies.

At any level, most schools and teachers accept donations. People interested in donating can reach out to their local schools or teachers to find out what supplies they may still need for the school year.

Meet Margaret Cahill: NBC 26's reporter in Fond du Lac!

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Margaret Cahill

1:39 PM, Jul 22, 2022
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