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NY Teachers Play "Secret Santa" to Help Make Up School Funding Shortfalls

December 20, 2006

New York, NY - A new study from Quality Education Data (QED) finds that many New York teachers are year-round Santas for students, spending an average of $475 of their own money to augment classroom supplies and curriculum. The report comes after a court ruling that New York state needs to stop being a "grinch" when it comes to public school budgets. Researcher Christine Papainapol with QED says some teachers spend more than a $1,000 a year.

"Mostly, we found that teachers often spend their own personal money on student rewards and materials for professional development."

Education and community groups are delivering a letter to Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer today, asking that the state stop being a "grinch" when it comes to school budgets.

A court recently ruled that New York needs to re-vamp its school funding system. Geri Palast with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity also signed the letter.

"It's really terrific that teachers are willing to make this extra investment in their own kids, but I think we as a society and a state have the responsibility to make sure kids have everything they need."

Michael Cohen, superintendent for the Brentwood School District, also signed the letter. He says the state's teachers are focused on what's best for the children and it's time for the state to step up.

"I believe in public service, not the public servicing us. Most teachers go into this because they like being public servants."

A description of the report can be found online at www.scholastic.com.

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NY