With school budgets being slashed across the country, more and more teachers are paying for classroom supplies with their own money, according to a new study. The survey, by Horace Mann insurance, found 26% of teachers polled reported spending $400 of their own hard-earned on school supplies last year—up 3% from 2011—and 53% said their school's budget had been cut, reports USA Today. DonorsChoose.org, a charity that helps teachers raise money for supplies, says requests from teachers grew 30% last year.
A 23-year-old elementary school teacher in North Carolina says she does babysitting work on the side to help buy extra supplies for her classroom. "I only have $100 from the school for the whole year to buy supplies, and it's not enough," she tells USA Today. "I even had to buy shelves and a stool for the kids to stand on to wash their hands at the sink." "Of course we're not forced to spend our money," says another teacher in Indiana. "But some of these kids don't even get breakfast before they come to school, so we buy them snacks and treats."