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It’s the school’s responsibility to provide you with basic instructional supplies, such as paper, chalk, math manipulatives and textbooks, so that you can provide the best possible education to your students. If you find you’re digging into your own wallet to buy the basics, talk to your chapter leader about utilizing the contract’s "basic school supplies" provision.

Teacher’s Choice

New York City teachers spend an average of $500+ a year of their own money on classroom supplies including things like pencils, paper, math manipulatives, instruments, telescopes, compasses and even gym equipment. We have heard from our teachers who have paid for things such as school trips, lumber and tools to outfit a wood shop, and warm coats for shivering children.

Thanks to the Teacher’s Choice program, created in 1986 by the DOE and the UFT, NYC teachers are reimbursed for a portion of what they spend. In 2021, each teacher received $250 in reimbursement.

Some tips for getting the most out of your Teacher’s Choice money:

  • You may start spending the money on Aug.1 at the store or Internet site of your choice, but no later than the end of January.
  • Keep receipts for all your purchases; You will need to submit them to receive payment.
  • Join with colleagues to pool some or all of the money to buy more expensive items to share.
  • See your school secretary or chapter leader with any questions.

OTs and PTs gained Teacher’s Choice funds for the first time in 2017-18. They also get reimbursed for professional development and a uniform allowance (even though they don’t wear uniforms).