I started (this current round of…) getting upset about this (continuing) problem of educators being ripped off for supplies, a couple of weeks ago. I was talking about it with a fellow educator and he reminded me of a time when a teacher went to the vendor floor at a conference. She commented on how expensive this one item was and the vendor said, “Why are you upset? The school district pays for it anyways.”
Those outside of the teaching profession assume that we get such a great deal and “the district just pays for things.” Even if that WAS true, and it’s not, I’m a tax payer in a school district and therefore I help put together the funds that are to be spent. I don’t need my school district being ripped off when they are using my money!
So then, today, I wanted to price 4 inch to 6 inch balls that I want to use in a project down the road. I figured I’d start by looking at foam balls and that they would be the cheapest. Within minutes I had been to several sights, including Oriental Trading Co (a teacher go-to site) and Amazon.com. I found what I was looking for in the 50 to 75 cents a ball range and was doing some mental calculations that I would need 50 to 75 dollars to get the 100 balls that I wanted.
Then I went to Discount School Supply. Doesn’t that sound like some company trying to help us teachers out? Well, not so fast. These guys wanted $2 a piece for the balls. That is more than double the price – for foam-stinkin-balls! I would be more upset but I have seen this since my days in the military. “Oh, is that being purchased for a government entity? We’ll mark it up 100%”
When you see the statistics about the amount of money a teacher spends out of their own pocket on school supplies each year (probably averaging in the $500 to $1000 a year for me) it really galls me that these places would charge double (and often 3 or 4 times) for something that could be purchased somewhere else. No wonder crowd funding sites are so popular with teachers (such as Donor’s Choose).
I’m going to get balls for my project. I’ll spend 50 to 100 dollars from the look of it. But I won’t be spending any money at any of the “discount educator” sites. They can wait for the purchase order that I’m not filling out because I’m using my own money and NOT my school’s money. Grrrr…
You may return to your regularly scheduled lives…..(and I’m pretty happy that I kept my maturity with this post and didn’t say anything like, “I got my balls in an uproar!” – That would have been wrong.)