Strapped for money and need to buy a plethora of school supplies. I know what it’s like to stare at that list and think, ‘where’s the money for all this supposed to come from?” Remember schools have budgets for school supplies. If you cannot afford all the items on the supplies list, you have every right to inform the teacher and request less expensive alternatives. You can also request assistance with school supplies.
Don’t allow yourself or your child be pressured into buying expensive or over-priced items that are unnecessary. Our youngest attended a charter school; ‘required’ items included 3 boxes of Kleenex, multi-packs of disinfectant wipes ($10), expensive colored copy paper for office communications, Sticky-Notes ($5-$10), $3.99 each composition books (4 required), hand sanitizer. I object to buying color copy paper on the principle that it’s over-priced, unnecessary and not eco-friendly. I object to buying tissues, disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for other kids to waste (saw that happen daily in classroom). I sent our daughter with a personal size packages which were the only supplies she used. I also object to being told what brand of school supplies to buy: Mead Five-Star binders, North Face backpacks, multi-packs of Expo Dry Erase board pens ($7), multi-packs of Sharpie markers ($10). The Expo markers and Sharpies are for classroom use and should come out of a classroom budget.
I don’t wish to sound like a revolutionary over something as benign as school supplies. However, some over-zealous, misguided school staff and PTA members can be pretty liberal with other peoples’ money. You have a right to refuse to buy school supplies that are over-priced and useless. Ultimately, the educational system in the US is free; you aren’t obliged to purchase any school supplies.
There are places which donate supplies and provide grants for school supplies. Many local FIA (Family Indepedence Agency) offices coordinate backpack and school supply give-aways. Locals schools and PTA groups may have donated backpacks drives. The Salvation Army, local food banks, Love INC (in the Name of Christ) and local fraternal or military organizations often collect and distribute school supplies. If you cannot afford school supplies, a backpack or binder for your student, don’t hesitate to share this with your child’s teacher or school student services. These people often have access to and will help you connect with the resources you need. Technically school supplies are also covered under your tax dollars. Charter schools also don’t have the right to force you to buy school supplies. Why am I saying this? To undermine your child’s school? No. Simply to take some pressure off from you if you find yourself strapped for cash and feeling pressured to buy school supplies that you can’t afford. For more about shopping, school and parenting, visit the blogs listed.