A majority of teachers and support staff are regularly digging into their own pockets to meet the needs of children in school, an education union says, with some paying more than $500 a year.
A study of 250 New Zealand Educational Institute members revealed 80 per cent spent their own money on classroom resources, the national president Louise Green said today.
The survey found that of those 80 per cent, 64 per cent spent up to $200 a year, 22 per cent spent up to $500 and 14 per cent spent $500 or more per year.
"Teachers don't want to see children missing out so that's why so many of them regularly dip into their own pockets when there's a shortage of classroom resources or if children are hungry or don't have money for school trips," Ms Green said.
"On a conservative calculation, that amounts to about $10 million a year for the primary sector alone. It doesn't include what secondary teachers would also spend from their wages and salaries."
Such spending meant there was a "growing inequity" between high and low decile schools, she said.
"We know that schools, and parent communities, go to huge lengths to raise funds to meet basic needs because of the funding shortfall and this leads to further inequities in the system.
"Whereas a high decile school can raise upwards of $100,000 from a school fair, for instance, schools in poorer communities struggle to raise a tenth of that."