It's a familiar tale in Philadelphia classrooms — teachers spending hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket to provide basic supplies.
City Councilman David Oh wants to change the narrative.
In a bill introduced last week, Oh proposed that the city create a fund where teachers who have paid for school supplies can apply for reimbursement.
The fund, as Oh sees it, would serve two purposes. The obvious first goal would be to throw financially strapped teachers a lifeline. The second, Oh said, would be to give Council a more accurate snapshot of what it takes to stock a city classroom.
"We in city government, we don't exactly know how much it costs to operate our schools because we don't have any way of tracking how much personal contribution is being made for necessary items," Oh said.
Oh modeled the reimbursement setup on the city's cultural fund, which grants money to arts organizations. The city puts just over $3 million in the cultural fund each year.
Oh envisions the city allotting $1 million for his proposed teacher reimbursement fund, but he said that estimate isn't based on any credible figures. That's again, he said, because there's no dependable way of calculating what teachers spend.