BEND, Ore. -

Third-grade teacher Jesse Rasmussen is getting his classroom inside Jewell Elementary prepped and primed.

In his room, you'll find posters, maps and board games. Makes for a pretty sweet set-up, but it comes at a cost.

"I probably spend $200 to $300 a year. But my first year in teaching, I spent more like $500 to $800," Rasmussen said Wednesday.
     
While the schools provide basic supplies, teachers are left to foot the bill for the extras they consider essentials.

"In terms of projects or decorations, a lot of that stuff falls onto our shoulders," Rasmussen said.

A survey by the National School Supply and Equipment Association reveals teachers spent an average of $485 dollars on supplies for their classes last year. 

That's why teachers like Rasmussen have learned to get creative.

"We've all gotten pretty skilled at using things like Goodwill or asking friends and family if we can use their stuff or if they have any old pens," he said.

With shrinking school budgets and growing classroom sizes, Rasmussen says financial help doesn't go far.

"We sort of get a stipend from the office, so we can buy some of those materials," he said. "But that runs out fairly quickly, especially when you're having to supply things for more kids.".

But he considers his money well spent. It's an investment in his class and students.

"I want to make it the best experience that I can, Rasmussen said. "So if that means paying a little extra so they can have a pizza party as a celebration, or doing a fun art project and we need some supplies, we want to spend that so these kids have an excellent experience."