Tax Deduction For Teachers Set to Expire

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Hundreds of teachers across the Stateline will have to pay more out of pocket next year if they want extra supplies and decorations as a federal tax credit for educators will expire in 2014.

"Everyone’s been impacted in some way by a teacher. Everyone, that's what I truly believe," says Melisa Melligan, a first year reading teacher in South Beloit.

Melligan wants to make sure her time in the classroom will have an impact on her students, that's why she shops at the 3R's in Rockford to pick up extra workbooks for her reading students. Next year, Melligan and her fellow teachers won't be able to deduct these kinds of purchases from their federal taxes. A $250 tax break for teachers expires December 31, 2013.

"Teachers need the assistance because they're already asked to do so much and taking that help away is kind of slapping them in the face and saying you don't need those resources to reach the goals we set for you," says Melisa Melligan.

Workers at the 3R’s say teachers have spent up to $700 in one trip at the store.

“There are a lot of things they buy extra so they can help the children, even after class. I think it’s going to hurt them and I hope they keep the deduction because I think they deserve it," says Stacy Fry from the 3R’s.

While the price tag can add up on all those workbooks, pencils, and stickers, some teachers say they'll keep shopping for their students.

“Every year I spend $1,000 to $1,200 on the kids, I’m in this profession because I love it, I love working with the kids and making this world a better place and if I lose the $250 deduction, it'll hurt me more a personal level than a professional level," says ESL Teacher Joe Kowalski.

Kowalski and Melligan say they hope Congress will renew the tax break so they can focus on their classrooms instead of their budgets. The New America Foundation estimates the cost of the deduction was $170 million last year.

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