Inflation affects teachers buying school supplies

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EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) – With the start of the school year fast approaching, teachers are preparing to welcome students back to their classrooms.

Amy O’Brien, a kindergarten teacher at Anthony Carnevale Elementary School in Providence, tells 12 News that she decorates her classroom with items she’s collected over the years.

“I usually set up my reading tables, and each section of the room is usually a theme,” she explained. “I could have the reading center, the housekeeping center, the block center.”

Even though the school district provides teachers with some supplies, O’Brien said she often pays out of pocket for other items she needs, including books and cleaning supplies.

“I like [getting] the bleach wipes and I like [getting] paper towels,” she said. “School towels aren’t good for picking up either.”

So far, O’Brien estimates she’s spending about $80 of her own money.

The Providence Public School District said the elementary school received $163,404 this year to purchase school supplies, ranging from notebooks to computers.

It comes as the price of school supplies has risen 10% from a year ago, according to data collected by NeilsonIQ.

The data reveals that school essentials, such as pencils and scissors, increased by more than 30 cents and markers increased by 29 cents.

O’Brien expects to spend more as the year progresses, as she usually buys snacks for her students.

“They provide breakfast and lunch and they provided a snack,” she said of the school. “But last year they stopped, so I definitely spent a lot of money on snacks.”

O’Brien said that despite the expense, she can’t wait to start the school year.

“My favorite part of the school day is when I read to the kids because I love acting, I love doing different voices for the characters,” she said.

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