NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine if you had to spend hundreds of dollars of your own money just to get your job done.

Lily Eskelsen García, President Elect of the National Education Association, said that’s how much the average teacher had to spend on school supplies for their students in past years.

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“The average teacher in past years will spend anywhere from $400 to $1,500,” Garcia told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet. “Sometimes as much as 2 percent of their salary will go to saying, ‘I need to do this.'”

New Jersey School District reading specialist Lisa McGilloway said paying out of pocket is a selfless act because the lack of supplies is more unfair to the students.

“I don’t know a teacher who doesn’t spend money out of pocket and I also know very few teachers who complain about doing it,” she said. “I think what we really need to think about is who is it really not fair to and that would be students.”

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In 2002, Congress approved a measure giving teachers and paraprofessionals a $250 federal tax deduction for out-of-pocket expenses for educational supplies but it expired last year.

There’s a new bill in the House to reinstate the deduction and raise it to $500 for full-time public educators and give a $250 deduction for educators in pre-school programs, according to the NEA. A similar bill in the Senate provides a $3,000 tax credit.

The NEA said it is continuing to fight for additional funding at the state and federal level for public education.

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