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Published: Thursday, July 31, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Lots of ways to help supply supplies

Regarding the Jenny Bardsley column, “Missing from school-supply list: full funding”: Long ago (don't ask how long) when I was in elementary school in Kansas, school districts gave out lists of needed/required supplies to local stores/markets and the parents of children anticipated to be enrolled in the coming fall.
This enabled the stores to stock the needed items in time for the school term. And the parents and caregivers could readily and economically provide for their children. Discounts were made possible by knowing what would be clearing the shelves and made available for the lower and middle income families and the charitable organizations providing for these children.
Now many teachers, schools and districts are forbidden or choose not to give out lists of items needed by their students. On the other side of that coin, some parents are given lists of top-end items that their students may use during the school year.
Now let's consider the middle ground.
School districts could survey their schools for lists of basic items needed by each student for the coming year. These lists could be merged and published in time for stores to stock them and parents to purchase them. Parents could look at these lists and know what items can be passed on from one child to the next, purchased in bulk for the benefit of multiple children, or even purchased in bulk and donated to their child's classroom and teacher.
I believe we're aware that the IT age is bringing its own set of expensive supplies. Many families are able to supply the more expensive calculators, laptops or computers for their children. Districts should examine the capabilities of all these items before listing them as “needed.” Although an item may have wonderful capabilities, a simpler item may be more appropriate for the age/school level and save the family or charitable institution a lot of money.
The goal of a quality education can be achieved with a reduced price tag. Communication can make an enormous difference to everyone involved.
Our goal is to prepare our children to participate in a successful future. The more people and organizations contributing, the better.
If you are a member of a district that already communicates openly and candidly with its demographic and suppliers, thank you.
Paula Deter
Camano Island
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