House passes study of reimbursing teachers for out-of-pocket class material costs | Prairie Public Broadcasting

House passes study of reimbursing teachers for out-of-pocket class material costs

Jan 26, 2021

The House has voted for a study of out-of-pocket expenses teachers incur for school supplies, and whether they should be reimbursed for those expenses.

One of the sponsors – Rep. Patrick Heinert (R-Bismarck) – said a few school districts have started some reimbursement programs.

"This, in a study format, would benefit teachers in the long run, and would bring this to the forefront for school boards and others to consider," Heinert said. "We may end up with a bill -- I'm not sure."

But Rep. Rick Becker (R-Bismarck) said he doesn’t believe teachers should be in the position of having to buy their own school supplies. He said the state already subsidizes K-12 education to a better degree than surrounding states.

"If we, in addition, reimburse teachers outside of what we're funding, which, presumably, would have been for those school supplies, it will become more and more reliant, to fund teachers more and more," Becker said. "The money that's going to K-12, that originally would have been used for school supplies, is now being used for other stuff. And what happens when we subsidize, is we always increase spending on the other side. And that's what's going to happen here."

The vote was 63 to 26. It will now be considered by the Senate.