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.

The final city budget contains a 27.5 percent increase in funding for Teacher’s Choice for the 2016-17 school year 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.

The Council is allocating $12.3 million for Teacher’s Choice this school year. The exact amount that each educator will receive in Teacher’s Choice funds for the coming school year will be determined by the Department of Education during the summer, once it has a clearer sense of the total number of eligible educators.

How the program works

To make use of your Teacher's Choice funds, educators must save their receipts for purchases made beginning Aug. 1, 2016. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form. You can find this form and other forms under the Key Documents section of the DOE's Teacher's Choice website.

Members will receive their Teacher's Choice funds in their late November 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 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.

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, frequently asked questions and key documents.

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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