backpack with supplies

Kids are asked to bring so many supplies. Image: Shutterstock

Schools are back in session and kids are starting to get homework assignments.  However, sometimes when mom or dad asks what their homework is, kids say, “nothing.” This will not be a problem in the future.  It seems that schools are now giving out homework planners so kids can keep track of assignments and when they are due.

If you have ever seen a day planner, these school planners are very similar.  However, before you jump for joy about how great it is that schools are giving these out, there is something you should know.  They are not free.  They are actually charging families $5 for each planner.  That’s not all.  The “school supply list” that goes home at the end of each school year seems to grow exponentially.

Here is a sample list of what schools are asking families to supply.  Students are asked to arrive on the first day with six folders, three spiral notebooks, a package of paper, pencils, a sharpener, wet wipes, colored pencils, erasers, regular lined paper, scissors, plus ten dollars for the planner and a magazine subscription to “Time for Kids.”

school supplies

Supplies can be expensive. Image: Shutterstock

What happened to the good old days when schools would supply these things for you?  It seems that, in the not so distant past, schools actually had enough money to provide said items.  This problem is only more pronounced in schools in low-income areas.  It can be a huge stretch for poor families with several kids in public school.  The whole grocery bag full of items can cost up to $40, depending on where you shop.  Multiply that times 2 or 3 kids and you can end up paying $80 or $160 dollars!  If that seems crazy, it really is.

The main problem is that schools are not being properly funded.  Please do contact your legislator to complain about this problem.  It may not seem like a big deal at schools in the north end or east side which have students whose families are part of a higher income bracket.  Yet, it is for everyone else.

Even if your child doesn’t need to worry about the cost of new school supplies, please consider those who cannot afford it and consider buying some extras to float poorer students.  They deserve just as much of a shot at a great education as everyone else.