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 supplies of their choice.

The final city budget for the coming fiscal year 2015–16 will contain a 62 percent increase in funding for Teacher’s Choice following a big social media and member-lobbying campaign by the UFT to show City Council members the direct impact that Teacher’s Choice has on classroom learning.

With the $9.65 million that the Council is allocating for Teacher’s Choice, which reimburses teachers and other school staff for out-of-pocket spending on classroom supplies, teachers should receive about $125 in the 2015–16 school year, up from $77 this year.

Guidance counselors and others who receive Teacher’s Choice will also receive an increase.

“Teachers convinced our elected officials of the amazing work they are able to accomplish if they have the proper tools,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “We thank all of our members who shared their stories with us and Council members of how they have used Teacher’s Choice funds to fill critical gaps and address their students’ needs.”

To be reimbursed, educators must save their receipts for purchases beginning Aug. 1, 2015. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form. Once this form is available for this year, it will be posted on the DOE's Teacher's Choice website.

Purchases must be appropriate educational materials for classroom use or other professional assignments. The Teachers’ 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.

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

Still have questions?

A helpful source of information is the Teacher’s Choice section of the DOE website. You'll find a summary of your guidelines and responsibilities, a calendar of key dates and frequently asked questions.

For additional information or assistance from the DOE, please contact the DOE Office of Special Projects Unit at 718-935-3304 or email specialprojects@schools.nyc.gov. At the UFT, contact Amy Arundell at aarundell@uft.org.

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