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      Sales tax holiday means big savings for parents and teachers

      School supplies like these art supplies will be exempt from the state's sales tax this weekend.

      While many parents look forward to this weekendâ??s sales tax holiday for school supplies, their childrenâ??s teachers may benefit even more from it.

      Todd Fuller, a spokesman for the Missouri State Teachersâ?? Association, said the average teacher in Missouri spends more than $500 of their own money on classroom supplies every year, with new teachers often buying in excess of $700 worth of equipment. He said elementary school teachers are more likely to buy supplies than middle or high school teachers because elementary school students are more likely to need construction paper and other craft supplies.

      â??A lot of times, theyâ??re buying items for the classroom that theyâ??re not going to get reimbursed for, for particular projects,â?? Fuller said.

      Fuller said teachers can claim their purchases on their income taxes but cannot get a refund for more than about $500. He said about 92 percent of teachers nationwide buy school supplies with their own money. Fuller said the practice has increased since the economic downturn led states to cut their education budgets.

      Missouri law exempts school supplies from the stateâ??s 4.225 percent sales tax from the first Friday in August to the following Sunday. Exempt items include pencils, calculators, notebooks, backpacks and art supplies. Clothing is exempt, too, as long as the total value is less than $100. Alex Rowles, whose son Jamal will start 2nd grade this fall, said the sales tax holiday is a huge help for him.

      â??You donâ??t have to do as much budgeting, youâ??ll be able to get extra stuff, brand-name stuff, things that you know are going to work a little bit better,â?? he said.

      Rowles said he has saved as much as $50 by taking part in the holiday.

      Cities and counties can opt out of the holiday, and many in the KRCG 13 viewing area have done so. Columbia, Jefferson City, Fulton, Boonville and Moberly are among the towns that will still levy their municipal sales taxes throughout the weekend. Counties like Boone, Callaway, Cole and Howard will also keep their county sales taxes in place.

      This yearâ??s sales tax holiday starts at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 1 and runs until midnight on Sunday, August 3.