It is your principal’s obligation to provide basic instructional supplies and books (including textbooks, paper, chalk, microscopes and manipulatives) so you can provide an effective educational program to your students. Under the 2023 contract, the DOE is now obligated to provide staff with access to electronic devices, printers, copiers, ink and toner to the extent necessary based on their assignments.
If the principal does provide these items, the chapter leader should request a meeting with the principal. At this meeting, the principal and the chapter committee will try to resolve the issue. At the same time, your chapter leader should notify your district representative to see if he or she can resolve the matter. If necessary, the union will forward the dispute to the chancellor for resolution. You can read more about your rights in regard to supplies in Article 7R of the contract.
New York City teachers spend an average of $500+ a year of their own money on classroom supplies, including on 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.
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).