Proposal would give teachers debit cards for kids' supplies - FOX 13 News

Proposal would give teachers debit cards for kids' supplies

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Kim Conrad's first goal was to make sure her kids didn't eat their math project. Using chocolate chips to show division, can be "tricky."

But it also kept the kids attention, during a difficult assignment.

Conrad, a third grade teacher at Colson Elementary, used her own money to buy the bag of chips.

Of course, she didn't have to. But Conrad says buying things that will engage her students, is what teaching is all about.

On average, teachers spend between $400 to $600 a year on school supplies.

And it's not always just on creative tools. Usually it's the basics, pencils, paper, books.

"So far this year, and it's what October, I have probably spent $500 so far, on different things," Conrad said.

Governor Scott says he wants to help. Last month, he did a listening tour, meeting with teachers. He says the reoccurring theme was how much teachers spend on supplies. So part of his education plan, Governor Scott wants to provide teachers with a debit card.

It will be a prepaid card, paid with state funds, private donors and local school districts.

Colson fifth grade teacher John Koren can point to all kinds of things he bought for his classroom. There's an aquarium to teach the kids about buoyancy, along with books, glue sticks, and on and on. He says it kind of comes with the territory.

If you become a teacher, you expect to shell out money.

"It is what it is, We buy it because the kids need it. We don't think about how much it costs. We raised three sons, we know what it costs to put kids through school," Koren said.

Teachers do get some state money, called lead money, and the district provides money for some supplies too. But teachers say it doesn't cover everything.

Koren showed us his drawers full of extras.

"You see all my stash of stuff, my glue sticks, my pencils," he says.

The teachers think the debit card is a great way to help them.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," Miss Conrad said.

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