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September 15, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, Representative Conor Lamb (PA-17) was joined by Representatives Tom Reed (NY-23), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) to introduce the bipartisan Supporting Early-Childhood Educators through Deductions (SEED) Act to allow early childhood educators to claim the existing above-the-line $250 tax deduction for K-12 teachers.  The deduction would help pre-K teachers defray the cost of providing supplies for their classrooms, whether they itemize or take the standard deduction.

“The work that pre-K teachers do is critical to starting kids off on the right foot and Congress needs to ensure that all teachers have the tools they need to support their students,” said Lamb.  “Pre-K teachers should be focused on their work in the classroom, they shouldn’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs for materials and supplies.”

“We are proud to support our pre-K teachers and all they do to provide high-quality education for our children.  We backed this bipartisan plan to ensure that these valued members of our education system are reimbursed for the supplies they need to better help our children grow and learn,” said Reed.

“Many educators across our nation, especially those teaching at the pre-K level, give so much to their students through their service, including the purchasing of supplies with their own money,” said Panetta.  “This legislation would make those teachers eligible for the $250 teacher tax deduction, reducing their tax liability when they provide school supplies for their students.  Those in our communities that care for and teach our youngest deserve the same benefits that are provided to primary and secondary school teachers across our country.”

“In Indiana and across the country, early-childhood educators are vital to the growth and success of our kids,” said Walorski.  “The bipartisan SEED Act will help to eliminate burdens and provide these hardworking educators with the tools that they need to equip the next generation, which will pave the way for more successful communities and a stronger nation.  I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to serve our kids and educators.”

Studies have shown that teachers spent an average of $530 of their own money in the classroom.  In 2002, Congress created an above-the-line educator expense deduction to allow qualifying K-12 teachers and other eligible educators such as counselors and principals to deduct up to $250 of expenses incurred for books, supplies, and other supplementary materials.  Pre-K teachers are not covered by the educator expense deduction currently, although they earn significantly less than their peers who teach in the K-12 system. 

Additionally, teachers in high-poverty schools spent nearly 40 percent more than their peers elsewhere, with one in 10 spending $1,000 or more.  In some cases, educators in low-income districts buy clothing and personal hygiene products, in addition to school supplies, for kids who are especially in need.

The SEED Act is endorsed by the Center for American Progress,  American Federation of Teachers, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC), Pennsylvania Head Start Association (PHSA), Teach For America, First Five Years Fund, Allegheny County Department of Children Initiatives, Trying Together, A Plus Schools, Boys & Girls Club of Western PA, Asset Inc., the Latino Community Center Pittsburgh , United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh and Allies for Children.

Visit Lamb’s website for more information on the SEED Act.