Parents, teachers spend to get ready for school
Teddi Larson had two back-to-school shopping lists to tackle Sunday while shopping at Target in Grand Junction.
The 16-year-old needed two backpacks and a stack of supplies for each class she’ll have in the mornings at Quest Academy in Clifton and for afternoon Advanced Placement classes she’s taking at Fruita Monument High School. Her mother, Malli Larson, said the shopping trip could cost more than $100 before adding the cost of a uniform and tuition for Quest.
Going back to school has gotten “more and more expensive” as her daughter has grown, Malli Larson said.
“I have noticed (the lists) used to be 10 to 12 things, and now it’s a quarter page long,” Larson said.
Several Mesa County schools request items beyond the typical pocket folders and No. 2 pencils. Students are often asked to bring Ziploc bags, anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, batteries, headphones or snacks to share with the class.
Depending on the first letter of their last names, Shelledy Elementary School first-graders are required to provide napkins and pipe cleaners, paper plates and cups, baggies and hand sanitizer, or cotton balls and lunch bags. Fruitvale Elementary School has asked its students to provide sponges that can be used as ice packs in the nurse’s office.
Budget cuts in other school districts have led to supply list additions such as hand soap and other building necessities. Even though the District 51 school board adopted a budget in June that included a $577,300 total decrease in budgets for individual schools, administration and district departments, District 51 spokesman Jeff Kirtland said he didn’t know of any new additions this year to local supply lists to help make up the difference.
Shawn Gregg, a ninth-grade science teacher at Fruita 8-9 School, said each school has a small budget for supplies, and most of those budgets are dedicated to office-type supplies. Gregg said he buys notebooks on his own dime and gives them to students that don’t have them or can’t afford them.
“While it doesn’t seem like much, if you have four or five classes, things add up,” he said.
Gregg said some teachers try to save money through tricks such as using the overhead projector to display material instead of printing several copies of information. It’s nothing new for teachers to absorb the cost of extra supplies and classroom amenities, Gregg said, and donations from local service groups and businesses always help.
“We’ll make do,” he said.