Teachers have had to purchase their school supplies, or been asked to work outside their contract hours. Now, there is a South Carolina teacher taking those problems .
This summer, a 6th grade English/language arts teacher, Shannon Burgess, filed a lawsuit claiming the Cherokee County school district required her to pay for school supplies out of her pocket and operate at after-school occasions for free. The lawsuit is available for teachers across the state to join the class action.
“It has long been a routine of practice throughout this nation and the state of South Carolina that school districts… have unconscionably and impermissibly shifted working costs of their classrooms right about the financial protections of our teachers,” the lawsuit reads.
John Reckenbeil, Burgess’s attorney, said he anticipates the litigation to attain standing in the start of the new year. He said there’s been interest, particularly on the issue of school provides while different teachers can’t be signed by him on until then.
Teachers Spend Hundreds of Dollars a Year on School Supplies. That is a Problem.
Instead, they should not need to pay for supplies that are deemed essential to do their job, Reckenbeil stated — although this case is not saying that teachers should not need to pay for any equipment out of pocket.
“When a teacher is required to literally pay for copy paper, plus they must go make copies of evaluations that are required under state legislation,… then I think that copy paper will fall under a category that’s required to get a teacher to do their job,” he explained. “It’s not going to be things that’s random or material they wish to have, like orange thumbtacks to get a Thanksgiving bulletin board”
The lawsuit alleges that the district has a budget for materials and supplies, but Burgess was asked to pay for items that would benefit her employer.
National statistics show that 94 percent of public school teachers spent their money on classroom supplies during the 2014-15 school year without any compensation. Typically, these teachers spent 479. Many teachers told Education Week that they felt bound to purchase supplies because otherwise, their students would go without.