It’s time to pick up the school supplies
Are you having fun with the back-to-school supply lists? Despite the increased use of computers, tablets and other technology in the classroom, these lengthy lists haven't vanished, and they can be rough on the wallet, especially if you have more than one kid heading back in September.
Many families received the dreaded lists over the last couple weeks, either through snail mail or email. They include the go-to items, such as pencils and erasers, but some specific supplies as well, many of which aren't the cheapest items on the shelves.
The list for second-graders at Marshall W. Errickson Elementary School in Freehold, for example, includes a set of headphones. And in Ocean, Wayside Elementary's teachers have added their own unique requests to the generic lists that are sent home to parents.
The parents themselves, meanwhile, are just trying to keep up.
"Shopping for school supplies is so annoying when school starts, so I pick up a few things here and there beforehand," said a mother of two grade-schoolers in Freehold. "What frustrates me is when the list online doesn't match the one sent home with my kids on the first day."
A comment from the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association pointed to a system utilized by several schools that allows parents to see the supply lists online and order them on the same site, and the supplies are waiting for the kids on the first day of school.
Parents aren't the only ones putting out dough to get the school year going, however. Many teachers dip into their own pockets on a yearly basis to optimize the classroom experience.
"Teachers are legendary for contributing about $500, on average, of their own income for school supplies that the school district doesn't supply or that they think are needed anyway," said Steve Wollmer, director of communications for the New Jersey Education Association.
An unnamed elementary school teacher in Edison told New Jersey 101.5FM she's already spent close to $700 this year on classroom supplies. Some are directly used by students, such as paper, and others are meant to expedite the learning process, such as bulletin board accessories and pocket charts.