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School leaders, teachers concerned about possibility of losing tax break for supplies

The West Genessee School District says they provide as much supplies to teachers and staff as they can-but sometimes teachers have to pay.

The West Genesee School District in Camillus tries to get teachers what they need each school year — things like pens, paper and pencils.

But some supplies are up to teachers to get.

Superintendent Dr. Chris Brown said it's always on a teacher's mind to enhance the learning experience.

"Extra things, maybe for students, it could be food for students who need it. It could be clothing, it could be, you know, other expenses related to trying to help children that a district budget can't provide for," Dr. Brown said.

A proposed bill could prevent teachers from getting up to $250 back from the state each year if the Republican budget passes in Congress.

The thought of this is sending teachers into a tailspin.

John Mannion is president of the teacher's union and a science teacher in the district.

"There are times when there's a last-minute lesson or something comes up and there are certainly out-of-pocket expenses for teachers," Mannion said.

Mannion said he is constantly reaching into his own wallet, and taking away the tax break sends a message that education isn't valued in this state.

"Removal of that is almost a slap in the face to not just teachers," Mannion said. "But anyone who works in education, because you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't work in education that doesn't take money out of their own pocket."

Dr. Brown said he doesn't want this to happen either.

"It's hard for people to imagine I think, what would happen if all employees of school districts, you know, stopped giving out of their own pockets for kids or for families or communities for that matter," he said.

He said it's so much more than a tax break. It's being rewarded for trying to provide the best classroom experience.

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