The Monroe on a Budget column runs Mondays in The Monroe Evening News. Here is this week’s installment:
School supply aisles can be a perplexing situation for local families.
Some schools in Monroe County post or distribute detailed supply lists for students. Whiteford Elementary, for example, has a chart on its web site that shows which students need index cards or binders and how many two-pocket folders are recommended for each grade level.
But other schools don’t provide such instructions. When my daughter started sixth grade in what was then Cantrick Junior High, the answer I got in regards to a school supply list was “something to write with, something to write on.”
Because a long-standing tradition in southeast Michigan has been that parents should not be expected to provide their children with supplies used in the public schools, there are often no specific instructions provided.
As a result, many area retailers are posting suggested shopping lists by grade level. The dilemma is: those retailer lists may not apply at all to what your student will actually use.
I think the assumption that parents do not provide children with school supplies is outdated and unrealistic. Why else would the Monroe County Backpack Coalition spin its annual donation drive to distribute backpacks filled with school supplies directly to needy students, instead of asking for help in restocking classrooms?
It seems to be a reasonable request for K-12 schools to post or distribute by June 30 what supplies will be used or expected in the classrooms in the coming year. At the very least, parents deserve a list of “we do not need” items so they know what to ignore in a retailer’s back-to-school shopping blitz.
Otherwise, the budget-busting choice for parents are: