"UCS teachers spend up to $1000 per year out of pocket to get elementary classrooms ready for school year"

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It's pretty commonly known that elementary school teachers take money out of their own paychecks to create their classrooms each year, but what's not commonly known is how much they spend per year.

Especially at Utica Community Schools (UCS), costs can range anywhere between $200 to $500 per year to get a classroom ready for the year, increasing to almost $1,000 for a first-year teacher. 

The amount of money teachers spend out of pocket to set up a classroom for the school year has increased in recent years due to schools enacting budget cuts.

For UCS teachers, contract negotiations and budgets cuts have made it even tougher to get through the year on salaries that are decreasing rather than increasing.

Some UCS teachers took pay cuts last year, and fear more pay cuts may loom on the horizon, according the the District.

This has placed financial stress on teachers, who, according to Utica Education Association President Liza Parkinson, are struggling to make the decision to support their students or their own families.

These conditions have resulted in frustrated teachers who are fed up with making a choice between themselves and their students, according to Burr Elementary (Shelby Township) 4th grade teacher, Jonathan Marceau.

To bring exposure to the issue, Casey Joss, also a Burr Elementary Teacher and former Michigan Teacher of the Year finalist, started videoing her classroom setup.

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