Teacher's Choice

Generic image - piggybank, teacher's choice

The landmark City Council program, initiated by the UFT more than 25 years ago, reimburses educators — as determined by title — for the purchase of classroom and school supplies of their choice.

Funding by title

For the 2018-19 school year:

Teachers — $250
School counselors — $100
Social workers and psychologists — $100
Single Shepherds — $100
Universal literacy coaches — $100
Occupational and physical therapists — $85
School nurses — $85
Lab specialists — $75
School secretaries — $50

How the program works

To make use of your Teacher's Choice funds, educators must save their receipts for purchases made between Aug. 1, 2018 and Jan. 13, 2019. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form. 

Members will receive their Teacher's Choice funds in their last November or first December paychecks. Those who do not wish to participate must submit a Request for Non-Participation (Opt Out Form). If you receive the Teacher's Choice funds in your paycheck and do not file an accountability form with required receipts by the Jan. 18, 2019 deadline, you will be obligated to refund the money to the DOE.

Items purchased under Teacher's Choice must be appropriate for educational use in the classroom or for other professional assignments. The Teacher's Choice stipend is not intended for purchases of basic supplies such as textbooks, chalk, paper, microscopes and math manipulatives, which principals are contractually obligated to provide. If that obligation is not met, let your chapter leader know.

Educators are encouraged to take advantage of the many deals on school supplies being offered throughout the city and online. The UFT supports the boycott of Staples, which is taking jobs away from unionized U.S. postal workers as the U.S. Postal Service outsources its work.

Educators are also reminded that other unreimbursed spending on school supplies may be tax-deductible.

Important Dates

Aug. 1, 2018 — Purchasing period begins
Oct. 19, 2018 — Deadline to submit the Teacher's Choice Request for Non-Participation Form
Nov. 30, 2018 — Distribution of Teacher's Choice funds to eligible employees via their regular paychecks
Jan. 13, 2019 — Deadline to make purchases
Jan. 18, 2019 — Deadline to submit the Teacher's Choice Accountability Form
June 28, 2019 — Participants reported as noncompliant will receive salary deductions from their paychecks.

Still have questions?

For additional information or assistance from the DOE, see the DOE's Teacher's Choice website (note: you'll have to log in) please contact the DOE Teacher's Choice Unit at 718-935-3304 or email teacherschoice@schools.nyc.gov. At the UFT, contact Michael Sill at msill@uft.org.

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