School supply drives are a regular sight in the weeks leading up to school starting every August.
It is not just students’ parents who buy pencils, paper and protractors; teachers, many times, spend hundreds of dollars to keep their classrooms stocked for the school year.
One proposed bill in this year’s legislative session seeks to help curb that expense.
State Sen. Craig Brandt, R-Rio Rancho, pre-filed a bill that would help offset the expense by allowing teachers who buy school supplies to get a tax deduction of up to $500 for the purchase if the bill is approved during the 2023 legislative session.
Marsella Duarte, an Albuquerque kindergarten teacher, supports the bill and said she has spent more than $500 on school supplies for her class.
“While funding for our public schools has increased, nearly every teacher I know still has to use their personal funds to provide basic essentials for their students,” Duarte said. “We need increased funding in our schools to solve this issue, but until that happens, legislation like this will be very helpful for all of us that spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars for our students.”
Duarte is a kindergarten teacher at Title One school Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary in Albuquerque Public Schools, where she was once a student.
“Most of my kiddos don’t have much. I’ve spent additional funds on my personal classroom supplies,” Duarte said.
Alamogordo High School social studies teacher Melanie Hallbeck, who also serves as National Education Association-Alamogordo President also sees the positive impact of such a bill passing.
“NEA-Alamogordo supports this legislative initiative as it not only acknowledges how often and how much educators personally invest into improving their classrooms and for providing for students’ needs, but also takes the measure to offset the financial burden of those expenditures,” Hallbeck said.
The New Mexico Political Report reached out to Brandt, the bill’s sponsor, but he did respond prior to publication.