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Michigan teachers could see effects from House GOP tax bill

Right now teachers thought the United States get a $250 deductible for classroom supplies, however through the Republican tax bill recently passed by the House, that deductible would be eliminated.


MASON COUNTY, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) -- A day after the House of Representatives in Washington passed a GOP Tax Bill, educators in Northern Michigan have some concerns about what this could mean for teachers.

Right now teachers thought the United States get a $250 deductible for classroom supplies, however, through the Republican tax bill recently passed by the House, that deductible would be eliminated.

“Most of us, we don’t call them our students we call them our kids,” said Dena Thurston who has been a teacher for nearly 30 years.

Right now Thurston is one of more than two dozen teachers at Mason County Eastern Schools. However, she’s one of the thousands of teachers across the county who often pay for supplies and classroom necessities out of their own pocket.

“When you see a child who is struggling who needs a new pair of shoes, who doesn’t have a coat, kids come in sometimes who are hungry I have kids every single day ask me if I have food, so I always have food in my cupboard - it’s difficult,” Thurston said.

“Whether its notebooks or pencils or chalk, it’s not uncommon for me to see a teacher open their trunk and bring supplies of their own into the school,” said Mason County Eastern High School Principal, Mark Forner.

A recent Scholastic study shows on average teachers spend more than $500 of their own money on classroom supplies.

“I do think that [the $250 deductible] is a good perk, it’s a great perk for teachers who are constantly giving their time and their selves and their money,” said Thurston.

The Senate is working on its own tax reform bill, that plan would raise the deduction to $500 for teachers for classroom supplies.

Some educators say while the $250 deduction helps, they spend well over that amount each school year.

According to Principal Forner, “$250 or $500 is not a large sum of money in the big scheme of things but it is an acknowledgment who are on the ground floor are making personal sacrifices for our kids.”

“We want them to be okay, we want them to be successful, we want them to go on and be contributing citizens and whatever we have to do to make that happen, we do,” Thurston said.

The House bill still needs approval by the Senate. They will most likely take up the issue after Thanksgiving.

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