Site helps teachers hook up with a 'sugar daddy'

A back-to-school supplies check list at the Staples in Union Square in New York.

Seeking Arrangement, which calls itself the 'elite sugar daddy dating site,' says almost 40,000 teachers use its site to make up for falling salaries and pricey supplies.

Funding for teachers' salaries and classroom supplies is typically thought of as the burden of a city and state or federal government's budgets, not the bank roll of a "sugar daddy."

But with typically low salaries and school supplies dwindling a new website claims that it is helping teachers with a novel solution to their fiscal problems. Seeking Arrangement connects younger men and women with "generous" older companions seeking a "mutually beneficial relationship." The site's CEO says public school teachers constitute a sizable chunk of the website's membership, using their "mommy" or "daddy's" gifts to help pay the rent as well as pay for school supplies.

"Teachers are placed under enormous pressures to mold the young minds of tomorrow but are expected to do so with less wages than their peers and by working longer hours," Seeking Arrangement CEO Brandon Wade said in a press release. He said 40,000 teachers use the site, typically asking for $3,000 per month in financial assistance. 

"Then those same teachers are forced to work in underfunded schools and marginally supplied classrooms," he added. "You can’t expect a teacher to accept less pay for more work than their peers and then reach into their pockets to fund your child’s classroom."

Whether or not this is a ploy by a company to make headlines, the data suggest that every teacher could in fact use a "sugar daddy" of one kind or another. Citing data from the Economic Policy Institute, Seeking Arrangement said that female teachers' salaries fell at a rate of 18.5 percent compared to other similarly educated and experienced workers from 1979 to 2013. The average salary for a starting teacher is $30,377, according to the National Education Association. At the same time, teachers often contribute significantly to the amount and quality of school supplies in their classroom. According to the Boston Globe, 97 percent of teachers use their own money to pay for supplies. The average teacher spends nearly $500 per year on school supplies.

According to Adopt a Classroom, a nonprofit that connects teachers and school supply donors, two-thirds of teachers also buy food for their students to satisfy their basic nutritional needs, often times when they're already enrolled in subsidized lunch programs. One-third of all teachers purchase clothing for students, and one-fifth pay for students' "personal care" items such as toothbrushes.

Seeking Arrangement says the schools below are the top five school districts for "sugar teachers." We took a look at what the teachers in those districts make and the challenges facing the area.

1.The School District of Philadelphia

  • Philadelphia teachers make, on average, $68,000 annually, according to the Commonwealth Foundation.
  • Philadelphia teachers' plight is emblematic of larger educational strife — there, and elsewhere in the U.S., educators are being asked to work longer hours for less money and less benefits. Their salaries have dropped by as much as 13 percent in certain cases, according to a teacher writing Philly.com. Many have lost dental and health coverage and experienced higher co-pays.

 

2. Miami-Dade County Public Schools

  • While wages for educators have fallen across Florida, they've actually increased in Miami-Dade County. From 2007 to 2012, according to the Florida Department of Education, the average salary for a teacher in the Miami-Dade rose from $50,737 to $54,455.
  • This school year, Florida Gov. Rick Scott increased a stipend for school teachers to spend on classroom supplies to $250 and placed the money on a debit card. Many districts balked at the offer because the cards would be distributed in September, after many of the teachers had already purchased supplies in August, the Miami Herald reported. Since 1998, Florida has distributed supply stipends to teachers.

 

3. Los Angeles Unified School District

  • Los Angeles public school teachers make an average salary of $67,600, CBS Chicago reported.
  • California law AB 1575, which took effect at the beginning of 2013, reinforces the California Constitution's guarantee of a free public education. It largely prohibits schools from charging fees for school supplies or requiring students to purchase them on their own.

 

4. Clark County School District, Las Vegas

  • Clark County public school teachers receive an average salary of around $67,000, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
  • The Las Vegas-based Public Education Foundation has created a Teacher Exchange where educators can receive supplies for free or steeply reduced prices. According to NBC3, they can receive a ream of paper, normally valued at around $7, for $1.

 

5. New York Public School System 

  • Seeking Arrangement told the New York Daily News that 472 female teachers in New York have signed for the service since 2012.
  • Teachers in New York make an average salary of around $73,751, largely because of the higher cost of living there, CBS Chicago reported.

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