As kids return to school, parents take a hit to their wallets

TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – It’s a necessary, but expensive task.

“It’s all a whole bunch of little stuff and it all adds up,” said parent Jeremy Hostetler.

As students prepare to go back to school, the cost of supplies makes a big impact on their parents’ wallets.

“Just on the supplies alone, I will probably spend between $200 and $300,” added parent Megan Creek.

Lafayette School Corporation assistant superintendent Karen Combs said teachers are in charge of what is required for each classroom, but there’s a reason for the lengthy list of school supplies.

“We really want our kids to do a lot more than just paper and pencil learning,” said Combs. “So those added school supplies really allow our students to really engage with the curricular material.”

However, not all schools require the same amount of supplies. Glen Acres Elementary requires over two dozen items for third graders, including six dry erase markers, two boxes of tissues, and an iPad stylus. Murdock Elementary only requires seven items, including a pair of gym shoes as well as an iPad stylus. Combs said sometimes schools higher in poverty have a smaller list.

“Schools that are high in poverty would receive more federal dollars,” said Combs. “Sometimes those dollars can go toward people, but they can also go toward supplies for students.”

Supplies aren’t the only back to school expense. Book rental is another requirement costing parents, but Combs said there’s help available.

“If parents fill out a free and reduced lunch application and they qualify, they also qualify for book rental assistance,” Combs said.

Combs recommends parents who can’t afford school supplies ask their student’s school, but said community programs like the Salvation Army’s Tools for School program can be another resource for children.

“We just have a really generous community,” said Combs. “There isn’t a student in any of our schools who goes without school supplies.”

The last collection day for Tools for School is Friday, and distribution is Aug. 9.

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