JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — People in Tennessee woke up Saturday ready to shop tax-free. Amongst them were teachers who use their own money to buy supplies for the classroom.
Cathy Botts was one of many teachers buying supplies at A to Z school supply in Boones Creek on Friday afternoon.
“In a year, I average now $1, 000,” said Botts. “My husband put me on a budget. I used to spend $2,000 a year.”
Botts is not alone. Kindergarten teacher Jamie Maines was also shopping for her classroom, and said she typically spends 200 to 300 dollars a year.
“I want to make learning fun,” said Maines. “So often times you’ll spend money just so you can make it exciting for the kids.”
According to a study by the National School Supply Association, on average teachers spend $500 of their own money every year to turn their teaching space into the perfect learning environment.
That doesn’t surprise the owners of A to Z, Penny Merritt and Carla Smith, who have owned the store in Boones Creek for 18 years.
“July is Christmas,” said Merritt. “We really do have Christmas in July.”
Merritt and Smith said they see the teachers’ commitment first hand.
“You know good teachers when they want to have something new and fresh in their classroom…something for the kids to be able to reach them and learn,” said Smith.
Supervisor of Instruction and Communication for Johnson City schools, Dr. Debra Bentley said the state provides each teacher with a minimum of 200 dollars a year. Bentley said she realizes that’s not always enough.
“They are not required to buy supplies for their classrooms,” said Bentley. “But it is that sense of service that educators have in our school system… and we are proud to have these people standing in front of our students every day.”
The sales tax holiday ends Sunday at midnight.