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Bill would help Arizona teachers buy classroom supplies

January 23, 2019

John Fillmore’s heart is in the right place, but his idea doesn’t go far enough.

That’s the opinion of Superintendent Diana Asseier, who heads the Lake Havasu Unified School District.

As a member of Arizona’s House of Representatives, Fillmore is sponsoring legislation that would grant a $1,000 state tax credit to teachers to pay for school supplies. HB 2034 is intended “to reduce the financial burden on schoolteachers who personally purchase educational supplies and materials that are used in the teacher’s classroom…that are used for educational purposes.”

Asseier believes the legislation should include educators of all stripes.

“I think this is nice, but I think it should apply to all educators,” she said in an email. “I know many principals and administrators who spend thousands of dollars every year on their school, e.g., library books, teacher rewards, student rewards for good behavior, etc.;

nurses who buy students clothing and hygiene products; specialists and therapists who build traveling kits of supplies and student rewards for the students they see at each school; I could go on.

“Arizona could step up and support all of those in education who continually give back to their communities,” Asseier concluded.

Additionally, Rep. Fillmore’s House bill makes a provision for spouses who are both teachers. Each spouse would be entitled to the $1,000 tax credit. The bill defines “qualified schoolteacher” as a teacher in a kindergarten program or in any of grades one through twelve.

Rep. Fillmore could not be reached for comment. He is the representative for District 16, which covers parts of Maricopa and Pinal Counties.

While teachers in the Havasu school district do not receive an allowance per se for school supplies, Asseier noted that the district’s eight principals receive a “principal’s budget” for some supplies. That budget is primarily to be used for educational purposes. For example, items such as bulletin board decorations are not classified as “educational.”

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