Teachers in Washoe County are working around the clock to get their classrooms set up before school starts. Studies show teachers spend on average around $500 each year out of their own pocket. 

First year teachers usually spend more than $1,000.  Every teacher we talked with said, while it may be a lot of money -- it's always worth the investment.

Channel 2 News interviewed Kate Carter, a teacher at Double Diamond Elementary School. She's been teaching for 16 years and is now setting up her class for her 5th graders who will march into her classroom on August 10th. "Getting the classroom ready takes a lot of planning,” said Carter. 

Over the years she's created quite a costly collection of learning tools. With the most important being, books. "Each of these books are $8 apiece. So all of the books that you see on this counter, I've purchased with my money,” said Carter. “My first few years I would say I was probably $1,000 a year out of my own pocket.” 

We also bumped into teachers stocking up on supplies… everything from books, decorations, crafts, pens, pencils and project paper at Parent Teacher Aids in Reno.

The cost for all the school items adds up quickly. “I just think it's important for them to have different resources to use, you know games for math and primary sources,” said 4th grade teacher Kari Nuttall.

We learned many teachers also step in and pay for supplies for students whose families can't afford it. To help, some teachers are partially reimbursed. This year Senate Bill 133 was signed into law, which would reimburse educators for out-of-pocket expenses up to $250. 

Kindergarten teacher Alyssa Wagner says while it does help, it’s still not enough. “Most teachers, some in here, and spend at least that much if not more throughout the year, especially new teachers. New teachers are spending like $800,” said Wagner.

Back in class, Kate Carter says even though she's doesn't start getting paid until next week, putting in the extra hours for her students is priceless. "My job isn't about keeping track of who I give what. It's about what I can give to these students so they can be successful members of the community,” said Carter. 

We were told roughly one in six kids can't afford supplies for the school year. If you'd like to donate supplies to help -- you can donate to the teacher's warehouse. For more information, click here: http://www.washoeschools.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=937