Despite being the largest school system in the United States, New York City’s Department of Education is coming up a little short on resources, so much so that public school teachers have to come out pocket on basic school supplies.
In order to obtain simple things like pen and paper, educators are spending up to $500 a year for the more 1 million city students despite a $24 billion education budget, according to a survey conducted by the city's teachers union.
"It was the teachers who were holding the schools together -- with the tape that they bought, it seems," said teachers union president Michael Mulgrew.
The lacking supply and resources in New York City public schools reflects a string of budget cuts by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who left office last year after 11 years in power. The city’s new mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to allocate more funds to public city schools under what he characterizes as a “progressive budget.”
Respondents to the survey - which included 800 randomly selected teachers - also said the Internet connections in half of their schools were either too slow or too unreliable to support instruction. City officials said they were working to get teachers a cash infusion.
“Hard-working teachers should not have to pay for supplies out of their own pockets," said Department spokesman Marcus Liem.