Office Depot, Inc. Enables Teachers To Access Classroom Funding Sources

Office Depot, Inc. (NASDAQ: ODP), a leading global provider of  office products, services, and solutions, through its Office Depot and OfficeMax brands, today announced that education experts from its "Committed to Learning" initiative are working with school districts across the country, including Hillsborough County Public Schools (Fla.) and Clayton County Public Schools (Ga.), to reduce educators' out-of-pocket expenses for classroom tools and supplies while allowing them to spend more time teaching.

Office Depot, Inc. has developed classroom enablement programs nationwide to help individual classroom teachers directly access available funding sources that are often underused or forgotten. Listening to teachers' concerns, the company's education experts work with districts to provide customized solutions allowing teachers to bypass red-tape, save time, and reduce the out-of-pocket burden. According to the Education Market Association's 2013 Retail Market Awareness Study, $1.6 billion in school supply costs are shifted to teachers every year.

Through Office Depot's "Committed to Learning" initiative, Hillsborough County Public Schools utilized the "Florida Teacher Classroom Supplies Assistance Program" to provide virtual cards that extend teachers' personal spend on much-needed classroom supplies. Through the virtual cards, Office Depot offered the teachers a discount and purchases were tax free, which simplified the record keeping. This program removes barriers for teachers and the district by streamlining implementation and invoicing.

Hillsborough implemented the classroom enablement program after the Florida legislature passed a law which provides about $250 to Florida teachers for use toward the purchase of classroom supplies each school year.

"When Office Depot partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools not only did it create a portal for teachers to use the virtual card, they created it so that all those purchases were tax free and receipts were kept online," said Pamela Hendrickson, payroll department manager for Hillsborough County Public Schools. "Office Depot was able to supply us with the greatest support and I'm excited about what this means for teachers because those classroom supplies can be in their hands, they can do their job, they can teach their students."

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