By Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants to institutionalize the increase of the annual teaching supplies allowance from P3,500 to 5,000.
He thus filed Senate Bill 1092 that would spare about 840,000 public school teachers from shelling out more money from their pockets for classroom activities.
While the teaching supplies allowance or ‘chalk allowance’ is provided for annually under the General Appropriations Act (national budget), Gatchalian noted that this budget could either increase or decrease subject to the proposal of Congress and the approval of the President.
The proposed increase of teachers’ chalk allowance was not granted in the 2019 budget.
“The lack of an institutionalized allocation for teachers’ supplies allowance makes their financial conditions more vulnerable,” Gatchalian said.
While the current chalk allowance already saw a significant spike from the P700 allotted per teacher in 2011, the current P3,500 per year allowance means a teacher is only provided a measly P16 per school day as allowance for supplies, he noted.
This leaves teachers with no choice but to augment their chalk allowance from their own resources, he added.
The Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2019 that Gatchalian co-sponsored consolidates four Senate bills that aim to increase and institutionalize teachers’ chalk allowance.
The bill also mandates a periodic review by the Department of Education (DepEd) for necessary increases in the following years.
Gatchalian expressed hopes that increasing and institutionalizing teachers’ chalk allowance would ease, if not alleviate, their financial woes.
“We tend to forget that teaching supplies are not often tallied like other items on education spending. While this may seem insignificant compared to other issues surrounding our education system, this is no less material to our public school teachers,” he said.
Gatchalian is the chairman of the Senate Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee.