Hmm--that is a dilemma. I have a teacher in my family, and she also spends quite a lot out of pocket every year to make sure her kids have extra reading books in the classroom, snacks, etc. When you say that half the supplies budget is going toward the carpet, is this money from the teacher or from the school? Do you feel the classroom is going to go without other needed supplies (or that the teacher will make up for this out of her own money)? Is there a classroom parent? If so, I would ask that person if she/he is aware of the teacher's desire and plan, and what could be done to help. When my children were in the lower grades in another area, the classroom parent often solicited contributions toward a group gift for the teacher--an e-mail was sent, and parents were free to contribute if they wanted or not. I think you could put out an e-mail saying that you know the teacher is planning to purchase this item for the class to use, that it would use up half the supplies budget, and rather than giving toward a teacher gift, that parents could contribute to this "class" gift. As long as it is offered as an option, not a requirement, parents can always choose not to act. It is indeed a tricky situation, but not that uncommon in this time of ever shrinking education budgets. I think if you are unsure, definitely get input from some of the other parents if possible. It seems to me that money toward something for the class would be very much appreciated by the teacher.