U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Topeka, on the Iraq war
Topeka Standing behind a desk covered with school supplies purchased by a second-grade teacher, U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., on Wednesday touted a plan to increase and make permanent a tax deduction for teachers.
"If America allows off-shore tax shelters for billion-dollar corporations but doesn't help teachers pay for school supplies, what does that say about our priorities?" Boyda asked.
Boyda has co-sponsored legislation that would increase, expand and make permanent the teacher tax deduction.
Currently, teachers can deduct up to $250 for personal funds they use to buy classroom supplies.
But the deduction is scheduled to expire this year.
H.R. 549 would increase the teacher tax deduction to $400, make it permanent and expand it to cover out-of-pocket expenses for professional development and training.
At a news conference at Meadows Elementary School in Topeka, Boyda said the measure is pending in the House Committee on Ways and Means, and a similar proposal has been filed in the Senate.
On average, a teacher spends $1,180 per year of his or her own money on supplies such as books, lesson materials, flash cards and crayons, according to a survey by the National Education Association.
Blake West, president of the Kansas NEA, said the legislation provides a practical way to help children.
"I hope parents understand how important this bill can be for our children," West said. "Learning is enhanced by teachers who have the necessary supplies and resources."