Home > Uncategorized > $chool $upply Purchases: De Facto Head Tax on Parents and Salary Deduction for Teachers

$chool $upply Purchases: De Facto Head Tax on Parents and Salary Deduction for Teachers

August 21, 2018

Yesterday’s Politico included this information on the impact of back-to-school budgets on parents AND teachers:

BACK-TO-SCHOOL COSTS BUST FAMILY BUDGETS: School children in the nation’s capital return to class today, as schools around the country open their doors. It’s an exciting time that can also be expensive. The National Retail Federation estimates that college back-to-school shopping will be at its highest level ever, while spending for school-age kids will be among the three highest years on record.

— Families with K-12 children were expected to spend $684.79 on average, while households with college students were estimated to spend $942.17 each. The total price tag is expected to hit $82.8 billion. The items families purchase range from laptop computers to school uniforms.

— This time of year can also be costly for teachers who spend their own money to prepare for class — including school librarians, according to the School Library Journal. To ease the burden, NPR reports that some teachers go to “supply swaps” in Baltimore and Reno, Nev., to trade everything from posters to ribbon.

— Meanwhile, the Donors Choose site, which allows teachers to request items for their classrooms, said it’s seeing widespread requests for classroom books. Popular titles are “The Hate U Give,” “Wonder,” and “The One and Only Ivan.” The most popular instrument requested? The ukulele.

Apart from buying uniforms ad opting to buy personal technology as opposed to school-issued technology, passing the costs of school supplies on to students and teachers serves to diminish the burden on tax payers creating a de facto head tax on parents and a de facto salary deduction on teachers.

The Motley Fool blog reported that teachers are forecast to spend over $650 this year, a 39% over the amount they spent last year. Writing from a business perspective, Motley fool blogger and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey writes:

While the economic and political forces that are driving this trend are beyond the control of any given retailer to move, many are (wisely) reacting to it. A vast majority of teachers surveyed — 88% — said they choose to direct their out-of-pocket spending toward retailers that offer  deals specifically for educators. That provides an opportunity for businesses to both do the right thing and draw in extra customer traffic.

And what isthe right thing?” According to Jake Weatherly, CEO of SheerID, it’s offering “Gated, exclusive offer programs” that create “...an appealing incentive that honors teachers’ service and helps them save money, while supporting brands by lowering acquisition costs and driving loyalty.” 

My thought: If businesses REALLY wanted to do the right thing they would not go out of their way to avoid paying sales and property taxes that help underwrite the cost of school. Instead

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