HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. Josh Green M.D. laid out his plans to help teachers by helping them buy supplies for their classrooms.
One has to wonder at what point in time did legislators stop providing the funding for teachers to do their jobs; but whenever it was, Green is keen to turn back the clock on this unfortunate state of existence for education.
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Green has proposed a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 per school year to help educators purchase supplies for their classrooms.
This new initiative will help to ease the burden on teachers who already make a paltry salary compared to the amount of work and care they provide. It is a necessary provision that will only work to make the lives of students and teachers better.
If this provision passes, then it will provide up to 80 percent of what teachers are spending out of pocket to educate the children of Hawai’i.
A step in the right direction, that’s what teachers are saying about Gov. Josh Green’s proposed $500 tax credit for educators.
From pencils and paper to art and computer supplies, teachers often use their own money to buy classroom necessities and other learning materials.
Logan Okita, a teacher at Nimitz Elementary said even though principals in schools plan with the best of intentions for being able to fund our classrooms, there’s always something that comes out of pocket.
A recent survey by the Hawai’i State Teachers Association found teachers spend an average $953 annually.
According to Okita and other teachers, the amount fluctuates each school year, from several hundred, to sometimes thousands of dollars
And, it is not just the necessities that teachers are buying. They often go the extra mile with colorful calendars and other extras to enhance the learning experience.
“If you walked into just a school funded classroom at some schools, it’s bare walls and empty shelves and just the curriculum books that the school provides,” Okita explained.
She said everything in the classroom can be used as a tool for learning.
Kalani High School teacher Brooke Nasser said a lot of the stuff she spends her money on is meant to boost student engagement.
“I think every teacher is just trying to make the learning environment for their students as positive and beneficial and effective as possible,” Nasser said. “We don’t just want kids to learn; we want them to love learning.”
Gov. Josh Green is hoping to provide some economic relief to educators with his plan to give teachers a $500 annual state tax credit.
The proposal still has to be approved by the legislature, but teachers see it as a step forward.
“I definitely appreciate the effort to recognize how much teachers spend on out-of-pocket on their students and on making school a fun place to be,” Okita said.
“I think it is evidence of maybe a step in the right direction. Maybe a new outlook for the for leadership in this state, focusing on teachers and focusing on how to make our public school system more effective,” Nasser said.
Nasser added that she also likes that it’s a credit, not a deduction or a check, which means teachers won’t be taxed on it.
Despite her support for the proposal, she said more still needs to be done.
“I think it is a really, really tiny thing that doesn’t really address the big issues in education.”
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Teachers are already given a $300 federal tax deduction.
According to Green, the credit is a step toward addressing Hawaii’s chronic teacher shortage.