New tax credit for teachers

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ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Soon, teachers and principals won’t have to dig deep into their pockets to pay for school supplies anymore. A new tax credit will give teachers $250 in state money to help offset some classroom costs.

The federal government allows teachers to write off $250 already, but this additional money will allow them to use up to $500 per school year to deduct classroom needs.

Teachers will now have more resources than ever before to put into their classrooms. It’s not just thanks to lawmakers passing a new school funding formula.

A bill sponsored by former teacher herself, Representative Sue Scherer (D) will put an additional $250 into the hands of educators.

“It’s very useful to great recognition of what teachers do, how much money they spend for materials and supplies and basic needed that some other students have in the classroom.”

The federal government already allows teachers to write off $250 on their taxes. Now, the state will match that and give them another $250, providing some financial relief.

“I know, when I was teaching, I spent upwards of about $2,000 a year for supplies, for clothing, for food, whatever my students needed to be successful.”

It also helps parents who might not be able to afford their child’s entire school supply list.

“I think it’s going to make a big difference. I don’t think it’s going to cover everything still, but I think it’ll make a huge difference.”

In order to get the credit, they’ll have to work at least 900 hours a school year. Parents say it’s a big step towards helping low-income districts get support every classroom deserves.

“I find, when you get to the middle year, teachers are struggling. They don’t have supplies. They don’t even have cleaning supplies to keep the desks clean.”

This new credit went into effect this school year. It was part of the budget which passed in July. So, while many teachers don’t know about it, hopefully the word gets out to help them offset some out-of-pocket costs.

The State Board of Education says students taking the PARCC Test are improving their scores. Districts made the change three years ago and school officials say now they can see trends in areas they need to improve and utilize more resources to increase scores.

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