Kristan Fleener spent a recent evening preparing her soon-to-be second-grader, Jersey Hubbard, for school by reviewing the list of school supplies she’d need to buy.
After registering Jersey at North Vernon Elementary School, Fleener began shopping for the supplies on the list.
“She’s only in second grade, so I don’t think the things teachers ask for have changed that much,” Fleener said.
She hoped she could purchase all the needed items on a budget of $50.
Preparing for the new school year can come with some obvious financial expenses. Families spent $7.2 billion at clothing stores in August 2009 alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The only month with significantly higher sales was December.
Teachers are keeping their supply lists as minimal as possible, said Brush Creek Elementary School secretary Jane Byford.
“Within the school, each kindergarten teacher will ask for similar supplies, each first-grade teacher will ask for similar supplies, and so on,” Byford said.
Also, St. Vincent Jennings Hospital is trying to minimize costs for low-income families by giving out backpacks and other supplies, she added. The hospital will continue to distribute them after school starts in case children needs any additional items.
As the Fleener family struggled to find specific items on the list, the mother noted that every day closer to the first day of school makes finding all the items on the supply sheet more difficult. School begins Wednesday.
“Waiting a week before is pushing it,” she explained.
Fleener said it can be even more difficult to meet all the needs of a teacher’s list along with the needs and wants of one’s child.
“She wants a different backpack even though she doesn’t need one. It wasn’t always like that,” Fleener said with a laugh.
“In preschool, she didn’t care so much about the stuff she got, but she’s a second-grader now.”
At the end of the shopping trip, the family had almost every item on the list, including a pencil bag, three spiral notebooks, markers, more than eight glue sticks, two boxes of crayons, three large erasers and a watercolor palette.
Jersey also got new tennis shoes and socks for physical education.
The total bill was $42.96.
However their shopping wasn’t done. Fleener said that they would have to go to Columbus to find a backpack and the 48 non-mechanical pencils specified on the list.
“The backpack will be about $15, and the pencils should be about a couple dollars. But I’ll end up going over the $50 budget I was trying to stick to,” Fleener said.