The COVID-19 pandemic only highlighted what we already knew – teachers are essential workers. Educators sacrifice so much for their students, and for our state.
Unfortunately, that hard work never pays off the way it should. On average, teachers are paid 20 percent less than other college graduates. Many of them work second jobs just to make ends meet. And on top of that, teachers often spend hundreds of dollars of their own hard-earned money on supplies for their classrooms.
That’s why I introduced the Educators Expense Deduction Modernization Act to quadruple the amount that K through 12 educators are able to deduct for classroom expenses on their taxes at the end of the year.
According to a Department of Education study, 94 percent of public-school teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies, and about 1 in 10 teachers spend more than $1,000 each year.
Yet right now, teachers can only deduct a fraction of those costs from their taxes.
The Expense Deduction Modernization Act would raise the amount from $250 to $1,000.
It would also expand the definition of who qualifies for this credit, expanding it to all educators. That means teachers, counselors, principals and other aides would all be able to deduct up to $1,000 for the classroom supplies they end up needing to buy on their own, to make sure our students are getting the education they deserve.
It’s a small but meaningful change for the educators who do so much – and often sacrifice so much – for their students and their families and our communities, both inside and outside the classroom.
Ohio educators shouldn’t have to dip into their too-small paychecks simply to do their jobs.
I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on ways to ways to support Ohio’s educators, and deliver real savings for all Ohioans.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents the state in the U.S. Senate.