You can smell it in the air… it’s back-to-school time. Educators are consumed with schedules and lesson plans, but lately parents have been concerned with the length—and content of—school-supply lists. They are accustomed to being asked to contribute notebooks, crayons, folders, and the like, but some schools are requesting building supplies such as paper towels, copy paper, and hand sanitizer.

NAESP President Barbara Chester has weighed in on school budget cuts and how they affect school and building supplies in several publications and discussed the issue on NBC’s Today show. “Principals are having to make decisions between textbooks and tissues and unfortunately the lists are looking a lot different than they used to,” said Chester on the Today show.

The budget reality in many schools today is that schools have to choose textbooks—and other resources that directly impact teaching and learning. Still, principals—like teachers, who have been buying these supplies out of their own pockets for years—sympathize with parents who feel the pinch. Schools work with families to make sure that kids don’t lose out on the whole school experience they need.

The real solution: Fund schools at levels that ensure schools get the resources they need to educate children for the long run. The short-term approach of piecing together a patchwork quilt of funding sources overlooks the reality that strengthening our nation’s long-term prosperity lies in educating kids.

What’s on your school’s supply list this year? How are you making sure that student’s needs aren’t overlooked because of budget cuts?

Supply Lists

West Virginia's state codes require schools/school systems to provide everything that is needed for instruction in our public schools. As a result, we cannot distribute Supply Lists without the disclaimer that these items are recommendations of the materials that will be used at each grade level if parents want to purchase any or all of them for their child. Our lists do include disinfectant wipes, tissues, etc. that can be kept in the classrooms.

Fortunately, we also have good community support. Churches and business partners donate materials each year to help supply those students who do not have items that they need to be successful in school.

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