Education Week logoThe final tax bill that Congress will soon vote on maintains the $250 tax deduction that teachers can use for classroom supplies—and yet teachers’ unions are finding little consolation in a legislative overhaul they say hurts working families.

The House and Senate versions of the bill took different tacks on the teacher deduction. The House bill called for eliminating it—a move that angered many teachers and brought much public attention to the relatively minor provision. The Senate bill, on the other hand, doubled the tax deduction to $500.

The version put out by the congressional conference committee Friday afternoon, which still needs to be passed by both the House and Senate and signed into law by President Donald Trump, offers a compromise, keeping the deduction where it is at $250.

K-12 teachers, principals, counselors, and aides have been able to claim the “educator expense deduction” for about 15 years now. Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican who is still in office, pushed for the deduction as a way of helping reimburse teachers who spend money of their own on supplies and professional development. According to a 2016 survey from Scholastic, teachers spend about $530 out of their own pockets each year on classroom items

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