Tell Us: What Do You Think Of Your Child’s School Supply List?

August 16, 2010

Your child’s Escambia County school supply list was featured in the economy section of his weekend’s New York Times. The reason? The school district is one of a growing number in the county asking parents to purchase items like cleaning supplies and copy paper along with the basics like scissors and pencils.

Kleenex. Hand sanitizer. Paper towels. Wet wipes.  Copy paper. Ziploc bags. Expo dry erase markers. Red pens. Those are some of the items that appear as optional or “wish list” items on the supply lists at Bratt Elementary, Molino Park Elementary, Jim Allen Elementary, Ernest Ward Middle, Ransom Middle and schools across the district.

Superintendent Malcolm Thomas told the New York Times that the items were listed as optional because “we know that people in our community are hurting”.

With a shrinking budget Thomas would probably have to cut personnel if the Escambia County School District paid for all of the supplies. He acknowledged that teachers — who have a starting salary of $32,500 — often purchase supplies out of their own pockets.

We want to know what you think. In our comment section below, tell us if the school district should ask for non-basic supplies like copy paper and hand sanitizer? If not, how should the district, and ultimately the state, fund the purchase of items like copy paper?

We would also like to know — How much did you spend on school supplies this year? Did you purchase the optional items? And what were your saving secrets?

To view Escambia County school supply lists, click here.


70 Responses to “Tell Us: What Do You Think Of Your Child’s School Supply List?”

  1. Carlees Mom on April 26th, 2011 8:06 pm

    My daughter goes to Jay Elementary one of the best schools might I add, her teacher and you know who you are got Rookie of the Year. I have seen my child with her teacher, and they have more of a family relationship rather than just a teacher/student relationship…I do furnish my child with the supplies that she needs and if possible will buy the extras, but if not possible the school and teacher will help with what my daughter needs because they are family.. And if at all possible I do try to help on days that I can… Thank you Mrs. Macht for being a wonderful teacher too my Carlee she loves you too….

  2. Escambia Mom on March 25th, 2011 2:21 pm

    I do not think that teachers should buy supplies for the children or any items that the class room might need. I don’t mind buying the supplies. That is my job as a mom.

    I do however wish that they would be more aware of the AMOUNT of items they are asking our children to carry each day to school.

    When my daughter brought her school list home there were 5 different size binders ranging in size from 1/2″ to 2″ and several colored folders.

    When we packed her backpack it almost didn’t fit. Add books to that and it is a wonder they can walk.

  3. LALA on November 19th, 2010 12:30 am

    where is the Lottery money going in the schools? Why can’t crayons and unused items be kept in a storage room and given out the first week of school, THEN see what is missing. The list gets larger and larger so somewhere it has to decrease. I think more people need to look into the school budget system by asking more questions in the county and state level.

  4. PTA MOM on November 7th, 2010 6:38 pm

    We aren’t made of money like most of you aren’t, but what I do know is that teachers earn EVERY dollar of what they make. Most of them anyway. Teaching today is not like teaching 20 yrs or even 10 yrs ago. I have (at elementary level) seen children talk back to the teachers and act like they don’t have to listen to anything they are told. So for a teacher to have to buy supplies is ridiculous. They already buy stuff to enhance the classroom out of their own pockets. PTA can help, but parents really should either volunteer to support PTA or quit complaining and step up to the plate and help support their children’s education. Most of us spend 2o-30 a month eating out or frivolously anyway. Save it and buy school supplies in August.

  5. none on August 23rd, 2010 2:22 pm

    just curious as to how many supplies are or are not resued from the previous year. I know there have to be crayons (used or not, they still work) and scissors and glue. My gosh, the list is so large each year and you have to buy so many, i know all of these supplies are not all used up every year…wonder what happens to them so the parents have to buy the same stuff each time. Just wondering…..EVERYTHING in a classroom doesn’t have to be new, kids, especially little ones dont care if they are used, they don’t know the difference. Are these used supplies thrown away at the end of each school year???

  6. tired of change on August 21st, 2010 11:10 pm

    If we would stick to the “old” schoolroom curriculum they used 20 years ago, the schools would not need more money. We need to quit changing everything. If we compare curriculum for 8th grade from 20 years ago to today, we would find that the age old 8th grade equals todays 10th grade. If we use the same curriculum, it can be passed down from sibling to sibling. That’s savings!
    I homeschool and buy good used materials at a consignment or on internet. I not only buy what the child needs to work with, but the curriculum also. You learn how to save. THE SCHOOL SYSTEM DOES NOT NEED TWO SETS OF BOOKS FOR A CHILD. Such a crazy system. Teach the children to be responsible.

    It does sound like the items that you folks have to buy are simply for cleanliness and orderliness. To me that is a necessity that I as a mother would like to make sure there is enough of.

    I may end up spending around $500.00 for curriculum. $100.00 for enrollment in an unbrella school just to keep the grades and records. We are not rich, but the Lord has always provided every time.

    I don’t think that the teachers are greedy like someone posted earlier, the teacher does not buy the material, neither does her salary change if she does or doesn’t buy the material.

    If you vote Democrat, yea the schools will be more funded, but the money has to come somewhere — out of your pocket in taxes. Get real.

  7. Layla on August 21st, 2010 2:59 pm

    Just like birthdays and Christmas…School starts the same time every year. I’ve always managed to purchase supplies at the beginning of the year and then, more often than not, been the parent who has continued to supply hand sanitizer, dial soap, etc. during the year because other parents can’t/won’t. Sounds hokey but kids are our future and the more successful your individual childs class can be the more successful YOUR child can be. If everyone concentrated on their own child’s class we could have everyone well supplied and well educated.

    I’ve volunteered in 4 different schools in this area and never, not even once, have I seen any supplies come from ‘cram the van’. I would like to see some input here from any teachers who have. I think the ‘cram the van’ drive is a hoax. I can find a list of contributors but not recipients. What gives with that? What schools in this area end up with those items?

    As always, exercise your right to VOTE. The people who are running things didn’t just magically appear one day. Most of them and all laws/budget require VOTES. Everybody wants to know WHY after the fact. Why? Cause you didn’t vote, that’s why.

  8. zipper on August 21st, 2010 10:32 am

    OH… and I don’t smoke or drink or have a drug problem. We just this summer had to get a new TV (ours was 18 years old). We hooked our new TV up to a computer, cancelled DISH and now watch movies and what ever we want online, saving $60+ per month, which will pay off the new TV in no time. We don’t have a playstaion and never did. We have no need to rent movies when we can see all we want online. So, if I sound like I’m whinning about our schools and how the money is mismangaged… I feel I have every right.

  9. zipper on August 21st, 2010 10:15 am

    My child is in the Daphne school system. This year’s list for 7th and 8th graders was much more than previous years. New things were added like a package of letter sized FILE FOLDERS, DISPOSABLE DUST CLOTHS, SCOTCH TAPE, STAPLES, HAND HELD PENCL SHARPNER. PACK OF STICKY NOTES, TWISTABLE COLORED PENCILS, 300 INDEX CARDS. And this was on top of all the other supplies on the list like 2 reams of copy paper and wipes, crayons… etc., etc. Then one teacher sent home a list for each child she teaches stating PER STUDENT to bring 2 more reams of paper, 2 more rolls of paper towels, more markers, more glue sticks and basically most that was on the homeroom list. This teacher has a homeroom and got (at least from me) everything we were asked to bring in. I have a problem with this. For one thing… if every child in her 6 classes that she teaches brought in 2 more reams of paper EACH…. which roughly would mean well over 200 reams of paper and 200 more rolls of paper towels. Where is she going to put it all? That is a lot of paper and is on top of the 40+ reams she received from her homeroom students.
    We also pay a $55.00 registration fee which comes out to around 39,000.00 the school receives just because the children are there. We are now paying the school one cent on every dollar we spend, and a teacher wants more. I have to say all the other teachers didn’t ask for more, just the one. Many of us see this as abuse and greed. We aren’t doing it. If for any reason… we don’t want the school to become a fire hazard…. LOL.

  10. giddy up on August 21st, 2010 10:02 am

    Unreal! Try homeschooling and having to pay school taxes that you never use for your children. You will really feel the pinch then. If you leave these items up to the school to provide, then YOUR (OUR) taxes will only increase.

    Why do we let other people take care of our children needs? It is our responsiblity as parents.
    Quit complaining.

  11. Lori on August 20th, 2010 6:19 pm

    On the radio the other morning, while on my way to work, I caught part of a discussion between the two morning disk jockeys about how schools are going to be fined if the teacher /student ratio is not in line with the number that is supposed to be, not sure what that number might be. But I was wondering, if schools are constantly losing funds through government cuts then how in the world can they expect to pay additional teachers. My daughters are now out of school, while they were in school it seemed that the list of supplies kept getting longer. I am not whining or complaining, and I did what I could when I could, but I would like to see an accounting of government funds, as well as lotto funds. I for one do not believe that funds are being appropriated appropriately.

  12. Duh on August 19th, 2010 7:45 pm

    I wonder how many of the folks commenting with a whine in their voice on the “high” cost of supplies for their children have the following:

    Cigarettes in the house
    Cable or satellite
    Excessive DVD rental
    Or, perhaps, even a little drug habit?

    It’s all a matter of priorities. Not attempting to demean those who are truly in difficult financial times, but I can imagine a readjustment of priorities in some parent’s lives could make a difference for many.

  13. just saying on August 19th, 2010 4:00 pm

    I don’t think parents should have to purchase these items……what happened to the good ol Florida Lottery??????

  14. Sweetie on August 19th, 2010 11:05 am

    Hmmm….so many complaints and criticizms….I tend to agree with the lady who talked about children having a box with their name on it and taking care of your own school supplies. Unfortunately, with things like they are today, that box would get stolen by another first grader…yes, I said first grader…because things like respect and honesty that should be taught at home is usually taught by the teachers everybody is complaining about. Yesteryear was nice, but it is in the past. Things are so different now. Some kids won’t have and when you are the one having to look that child in the face, who is innocent and doesn’t understand why they “can’t have”, too, you might think differently. Also, there are so many federal programs out there that the school tries to tap, but can’t always get to, because once someone learns where they can get some “free” money, then everyone wants in on it and ruins it for those who really needed it. The schools have so many things to overcome to begin with. Like having to account for all the students to attend so many days or they lose federal money. Things like that affect us all. So, since the most of us don’t know the big picture, buying things for your child seems small in comparison. If you can, do it. If you can’t, don’t. If you can, but just won’t, don’t complain.

  15. Missy on August 18th, 2010 3:28 pm

    I have no child in school, however I do have grandchildren. Some of the suppliesI agree with. Some seem excessive in amount. The cleaning supplies and copy paper is definetly a county school expense and should not be on a childs school list. As to miss atmore’s comments I would like to remind her of the children at Bratt elementary and Northview who travel to ur schools expense free as to tax dollars. We get nothing from Alabama for their education. It all falls on us Floridians. I know this to be a fact. Some of the people are friends who bring their children to a bus stop to travel on OUR busses to school. Nothing is fair in our school system as far as expense.

  16. horrific on August 18th, 2010 3:23 pm

    I do have one more thing to ADD

    I certainly feel that the supply list should be given at the end of the previous
    year for the following year.

    Then parents could print coupons off their computer on COUPONS.COM for items such as T.P. paper towels, etc. and watch for big sale ads during the entire summer to match their coupons to and buy at the absolute best prices.

    After all their incomes ARE cut the same as everything else on earth
    right now and a little cooperation should be called for by both parties.

  17. horrific on August 18th, 2010 2:56 pm

    Sorry for my typo my fingers were flying.

  18. horrific on August 18th, 2010 2:51 pm

    Well Well Well what have we here.

    I agree with AL including the thing about the quarter lol.

    It never seems to amaze me what people WILL spend their money on
    and what they won’t.
    Everything in this world that we know of right now has been cut.
    Stop complaining about what you have to spend on YOUR child and
    YOUR schools and YOUR teachers needs.

    People your children are YOUR most precious commodity and their
    EDUCATION is THEIR most precious commodity.
    TEACHERS should be the most highly paid person that you know.
    GET IT !

    IF you can afford the supplies do it, if you can’t don’t and I’m sure
    someone who did will, or those teachers your complaining about

    IF you don’t make sure your not smoking or drinking or YOU need
    to rethink your PRIOITIES!

  19. Parentwithabrain on August 17th, 2010 7:27 pm

    Hood you are a fool. Teachers pay for their health insurance and it’s not cheap. They also work ten, not twelve months and that’s what they get paid for. But they don’t get paid for all the extra hours they spend before school, after school, and the mandatory things they must do on their own time to maintain their certification. As for mandatory, show this. I know in Santa Rosa school supplies are requested, not mandatory. I spent about sixty bucks for two children. And I didn’t go during tax free week. Teachers are responsible for their kids, not yours. If you are too cheap to pay for school supplies that’s on you. But I have seen many parents whine and complain about the cost but they don’t think twice about how much they spend on their smokes and booze. What’s more important?

  20. MICHAEL WEAVER on August 17th, 2010 2:21 pm


  21. Laura on August 17th, 2010 10:33 am

    I think folks should do what they can to meet the gaps that are there for kids who don’t have the supplies. I always have extra supplies to send along with my children, even though I cannot really afford the supplies in the first place (and I work for our elementary school).
    When I saw this article, all I could think was, we are a nation that is spending millions, billions, in the trillions on what appears (???) to be for the good of our nation: healthcare reform, benefits for non-citizens, bail outs for banks and car companies, etc. AND our own public school systems can’t supply themselves with toilet paper and dry erase markers??? sounds like a stretch to go from the govt would rather give bank bail outs than raise the standards in our public schools, but I think thats a big part of the point. To make us go w/out, make things harder & harder to do on our own, until most of us are completely dependent on them, from dependence into bondage. We need to ask ourselves WHERE our country’s $ has gone and is continuing to go.

  22. Splat on August 17th, 2010 10:28 am

    I think we all agree that the majority of teachers are underpaid. The only issue I have a problem with is being “tricked” into buying 3 packs of crayons and 6 packs of paper, knowing my child won’t be the only one using them. I have my own charities that I support on my own, I don’t want to be scammed into buying supplies for other children. These children get assistance from Cram the Van, which I always throw supplies into.

  23. atmore on August 17th, 2010 10:11 am

    I think the teachers in atmore does a wonderful job.I have no complaints about the teachers even though i know that their are some that are not soooooo wonderful.But for the most part,i enjoy my children teachers and I do feel they are under paid and so am I.They have to monitor,teach, and discipline 30+ children a day.I have a hard time monitoring my two kids a day so i can imagine what they go thru.So i want to clear my post and to indicate its not about the teachers,my complaint is the list and no i didnt get all that was requested but i did purchase what i thought was a fair amount and is willing to buy more at a later time this year.

  24. Elizabeth on August 17th, 2010 7:17 am

    As a homeschooling parent, the only experience I had with school supply list was my elementary school list from 20 years ago. Back then you had your box which donned your name. Inside were your supplies with each item labeled as well. I knew that I had to take good care of these supplies because they would have to last me then whole year. I typically took such good care of them that some supplies were reusable year to year. I didn’t break crayons or lose pencils because I wasn’t getting more.

    A couple years ago I was picking up a few minor school supplies for my homeschooled kids. I noticed a lady who had only one child and had picked up something like 5 boxes of crayons, 3 supply boxes, etc. (don’t remember exact count, just that it was a lot) I couldn’t help but ask why her one child needed so much. She explained the socialized school supplies and I was taken aback. Guess that’s how it goes for public school.

    As for our school supply list…we bought much of our stuff second hand and cut lost of other economical corners…

    …and still spent about $1000 dollars on “school supplies” while still funding the public school system. Guess that’s just how it goes with homeschool. :-)

  25. Jim Reynolds on August 17th, 2010 7:12 am

    Just for perspective how are the private schools doing in all this?
    My understanding is the cost to educate a student in a private school is about
    half the cost the state pays out per student.
    Yet I don’t see news paper articles about private school students having to bring their own toliet paper.

    Our State Run Education Systems just like other goverment run programs with unionized goverment employees the schools never force themselves to run as a business because they know one way or the other they can get the money from the tax payer

  26. curious on August 16th, 2010 10:43 pm

    i did not buy any optional items and my 2 kids r using some items from from previous year like scissors, etc. and i still paid over 27.00.

  27. Stephanie on August 16th, 2010 10:30 pm

    School Supplies ROCK!!! My kids LOVE getting all new stuff for school!! Ahhh… the smell of new crayons….

    Enthusiastic, prepared children will learn better.. why??? Because they have what they need purchased for them BY the people who supported them FIRST… yes, that would be their parents! Hmmm… how do I know this???

    I have been a classroom teacher for 20 years and 19 of them a MOM!!!

    I buy extra supplies to fill the gap without a second thought. EVERRRRR!!!!

    Take care of your kids, and help out their teachers. If you never had a teacher, you wouldn’t be able to read this, would you???

    Have a nice day! :)

  28. Frustrated Teacher on August 16th, 2010 10:24 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe we have so many teachers out there with first hand experience of the classroom and who know what the circumstances are really like! Oh wait, most of you who are complaining have NO IDEA what education is like these days, nor do you know about all the extra time and effort teachers put into making sure that each student has a positive and rewarding learning environment. Also, most teachers have a little something we like to call STUDENT LOANS. We get these and put ourselves into debt so that we are able to obtain an education and go into a profession that doesn’t pay that well. But we do so so that we can do what we love…TEACH! No one goes into the profession for the money. It’s because we love teaching students and seeing them succeed and hopefully getting them excited about learning. I’m sorry but by the time I pay my bills to be able to survive and pay for student loans, I don’t have the money left to buy all the needed supplies for the classroom. It’s very frustrating to spend the first 15 minutes of class borrowing paper, pens, textbooks, etc because students aren’t prepared. There is far too much instructional time being taken because students aren’t prepared. Preparation in exchange for education. That’s all we’re asking for and I don’t think it’s too much. If you need help that’s fine. If you can’t buy the optional items that’s fine. Just make sure the student has the basics and we’ll take it from there. I try to buy as much as I can to help out in the classroom but it really enrages me to hear ignorant people say teachers make enough money and it should be their responsibility to supply everything on their own. So this rant is directed at those people who know so much.

  29. Annoyed on August 16th, 2010 9:58 pm

    First of all, the district does not buy two sets of books for each kid. One extra set of books is bought and left in the classroom. When I was in school that classroom set rocked because it was impossible to forget a book.
    When money is being poured into special committees and when every one in the Hall Center has a secretary for their secretary there is no way that school supplies gets priority. My mother is a teacher and she attends meeting after meeting to listen to yet another “specialist” that the district has hired. She came home one day with a two inch binder full of COLORED printed paper with illustrations on how to get along better with your coworkers. Guess who paid for all of that ink? There is probably enough money to pay for all of the supplies for every kid in the district, but after everyone in administration has put their hands in the pot the teachers and students get the raw end of the deal.
    Too many chiefs and not enough indians.

  30. lisa on August 16th, 2010 9:53 pm

    People it is called a wish list. Your don’t have to purchase it. I know for a fact that the teacher will graciously help any parent who can not afford the regular supplies. We have wonderful teachers.

  31. Big B little ill on August 16th, 2010 9:36 pm

    I think if you can afford the supply’s, don’t complain. After all your child is more valuable than dollars.

  32. jim on August 16th, 2010 9:33 pm

    that would be 257 boxes of crayons or 10 boxes of copy paper. at 1% not much but a start..wonder how many van loads the system got from cram the van.. I don’t believe that the middle school and high schools students included in that 39,000 will be needing crayons.. but crayons aren’t my point. the point is the system is on a budget, i can see getting the parents to help their own children out with supplies, but toilet paper? copy paper? what will be added to the list next year. using our tax dollars we have gone from the system supplying everything to where we are today.. the state actually cut back on funding to the school systems when the lotto got big..oh well thanks teachers i know that you have a tough job..

  33. High School Student on August 16th, 2010 9:21 pm

    As a Senior in high school, I am able to recently recall how it is to be a student, and the hardships teachers face. I firmly believe that IS NOT a teacher’s duty to buy paper towels, soap,ect. to provide for their classroom and school, they’re already underpaid!!! However, when the school and other higher authority don’t make sanitary items and health needs at the top of their priority list, the duty falls upon the teachers. I personally know that without many teachers, there would NEVER be soap or paper towels in our bathrooms at school. Without the teachers putting it on their wish list, they would have to go out and buy these neccesities that YOUR child uses daily.

    Obviously, it is the parents choice concerning what to buy on their child’s school supply list, and all these parents whining about how copy paper and hand santizer isn’t a wish list item, JUST DON”T BUY IT!!! I doubt the child’s teacher is really going to confront you about how you didn’t buy kleenex!

    To “With or Without Supplies,” I 100% agree with everything you have to say!! Society doesn’t give teachers all the praise they deserve, so I just want you to know, all the power to you! I’m behind you all the way!

    && to “Robert” pertaining your imput on the text book situation, if there wasn’t two sets of text books, many kids would have serious back problems! Not all schools have lockers, and at times the locations to where your assigned locker is at, isn’t accesible to you! Especially when high school students ONLY have 5 min in between classes, and they’re having to dodge all the 3,000 students that attend their widely spread out school!!! You must of been one of those kids that didn’t have to carry around 6 or 7 books everyday for your classes, or just strolled in your class and told the teacher you “simply forgot”, but I’m one of those kids that has a book for every class! I thoroughly believe in two sets of books!!

    I think people need to get the facts on this situation before they post their opinon!

  34. Eli on August 16th, 2010 8:45 pm

    These teachers who you complain make so much money have a thing called a College Education. That is where you go to learn to spell DEMOCRAT. Fact is that most of these teachers could make a lot more money if they would have spent 4 years of their life on something besides learning how to teach and take care of your kids. Blame it on big governments, blame it on corrupt politicians, but don’t blame it on our teachers. Truth be told they should be some of the highest paid public servants out there, but they are not. If you don’t like our public schools- by all means- homeschool your kids.

  35. ohno.... on August 16th, 2010 8:34 pm

    Where to begin….i have been in the Esc county Al schools for many years. I’m an involved parent. I have seen so many supplies be wasted by the kids. Much of the waste is done by the ones who couldn’t or didn’t buy any supplies. I think they get so excited to have these new things that others provided, they don’t know what to do with them. I mean things like taking the hand soap and pumping hands full of it and then playing in the water….wasting toilet paper (literally rolling wads of it up and throwing it in the toilets, which get stopped up)..this has led to the bathrooms not having any paper in them sometimes. I also know that there have been teachers over the years (retired now) that were working in elementary school summer programs, which were given a lot of grant money to run…this money was always a mystery to us parents. We never saw any supplies being bought for the kids to use. They go out and buy treats for the kids, candy, junk etc to reward them with for certain things. I volunteered some in classrooms and asked one teachers kids where there treats were (i had to reward them) and they said they didn’t have any. Now, this program had been going on for weeks and this one particular class had no treats like the others did. I found out later that they had been taken home to her children…along with watching this one teacher take loads of paper towels and toilet paper home out of her classroom….now, why do you think parents are so skeptical of buying “extra” supplies? I can’t speak for all teachers, yall are a GODSEND, but there are some out there that aren’t up to par, and everyone knows it.

  36. pcola native on August 16th, 2010 8:31 pm

    Lets look at a bit of reality similar to a FCAT math application problem: $128,103 is the salary listed on the DOE website for the Superintendent in Escambia County, Florida. Equate that to a CEO with 6,000 employees and I think you will see the bargain we get for our tax dollars.

    Here is the FCAT practice
    Using the “profits” of the salary cut suggested by jim, calculate the number of boxes of crayons the 1% cut in pay would generate, assuming 50 cents per box. Now how many crayons could be supplied to each of the 39,000 students at nearly 60 school sites in the district assuming 24 crayons per box?

    Silly example, but the result of decreasing funding to schools over the last 10 years is that teachers are spending more of their own money on basic supplies for their classes because their student’s parents can’t. Many teacher spouses have lost their jobs and many teacher positions have been cut to save dollars.
    The economic pressures affect all of us. If you can help your child’s school, please do. If you can not, contact your child’s school guidance department.

  37. With or without supplies. on August 16th, 2010 8:07 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin. I am a teacher in Escambia county and I adore your children. It doesn’t matter to me if you send them to school with or without supplies. Myself and pretty much every teacher I have ever known goes above and beyond to make sure a box of crayons or a bottle of germ-ex doesn’t make or break your child’s education.

    It saddens me, that many honestly know so very little about what goes on in the classroom. How teachers work beyond the school day, on weekends, and in the evenings without getting paid. How we get paid for 10 months out of the year NOT 12! How we tutor your children after school without getting paid. How we spend unpaid days off attending new textbook adoption training. How we support your child and the community by attending after school functions. The list goes on and on and we don’t complain. We actually choose to do all of it.. These things are OPTIONAL. However, this community is complaining about an OPTIONAL supply list. If you can’t afford it, then don’t purchase it.. Tell your child NO! That’s what I told mine when she was in elementary and middle school.

    It doesn’t matter to us, we love them with or without ANY kind of supplies.

    My daughter is a product of Escamia county and I am proud to say that she graduated #1 in her class and now attends FSU! She did all this without me purchasing the OPTIONAL supplies!

  38. jim on August 16th, 2010 7:33 pm

    after second thoughts this school supply list, sounds a bit like “share the wealth”.. why else would they not want you to write the students names on the items ??? a bit of socialism maybe ??

  39. parent of two on August 16th, 2010 5:16 pm

    My child goes to Ransom and what they are asking is costing me an arm and a leg for Ransom and Molino Park. My sisters children go to Ernest Ward Middle It cost her less than $10.00 to get her child ready for school there. That school ask for the basics. Why can’t they all do that times are hard!!!

  40. jim on August 16th, 2010 4:23 pm

    I get tired of the school board along with the BOCC saying they are going to have to cut personal if they don’t get their way..if they can’t do the job with what they have then lets put someone in that can. i know that times are hard.. but they are on a budget, just like me just like with it.. if Thomas took a 1% pay cut, think of all the supplies that would buy.if we continue to give in to them, maybe soon we will be buying TP, tissues and lunch for the staff in our schools

  41. atmore on August 16th, 2010 1:11 pm

    I am from Atmore and I personally think the school list is insane.I dont mind buying extra’s for other kids because i may be one of those in the unemployed or disability bracket,etc one day.I figure a extra pack of color crayons,paper,scissors,erasers wouldnt hurt my household as much as having to buy clorox wipes,5 bottles of handsanitizer,Lysol,baby wipes,antibacterial soap,etc.It makes you wonder who is cleaning the schools each day and how.I feel cleaning supplies should come from the school and provided to the janitors,teachers or to the people that clean each day.Some people cannot work for different reasons and some are on a fixed income which is not the child(s) fault.It is sad that we have to buy uniforms,which i dont mind, buy cleaning supplies and school supplies for the year and still maintain a high light bill,water bill,food bill,gas bill etc.Im not the one to really complain because i feel as though i am blessed to have a job and a husband that helps, but we do get into binds, so just imagine the single parents, elderly parents,those who cant work,or on a fix budget..I think all the schools should come up with a better solution or dont demand so much at one time.I tell my kids to share their pencils and supplies if need be because he or she might need to borrow from some one else one day. Believe me when i say we may not be able to afford it but i was raised that blessings come from helping others.Maybe some one will read this post and make a better list next year.If anything is left over i feel they should either keep it for the next year and decrease the list for the upcoming year(not take it home) or give it to kids to bring home to their parents.

  42. shae on August 16th, 2010 11:54 am

    We pay taxes for education, plus we have a florida lottory that proceeds are suppose to go for education. Somebody needs to look at rebugeting all across the board! Where is the money???

  43. AL on August 16th, 2010 11:06 am

    Technically I don’t have a dog in this fight, because I don’t have kids of my own. But as a taxpayer, here are my thoughts:
    Any supply to be used specifically in the classroom for education / health and safety is non-negotiable. Tissues, hand sanitizer, paper towels, crayons etc. You don’t want your kid giving or getting the ‘crud’ so pony up for the health stuff.

    Supplies for general school use? Such as copy paper and cleaning supplies? I think not!

    Maybe the answer for that is say sure, I’ll bring in some windex and chlorox wipes… and I will wipe the desks and chairs and then take my cleaner home with me. You are then at the school involved with your child, and not “donating” cleaning supplies.

    I do like “Splat”s recommendation for the quarter though. ;)

  44. DoThe RightThing on August 16th, 2010 10:52 am

    I also have a problem with the school/teacher not wanting the items marked with the child’s name. I have no problem buying for my child/grandchild but I do have a problem with buying for other kids in class. I know everyone may not have the funds to buy these items for their kids but that is between that parent and the teacher to work out. It’s not for me to pick up that slack.

  45. MOM on August 16th, 2010 10:33 am

    I have no problem with it but I would love to do as Baldwin County AL does, give the teacher $40.00 and they buy the supplies. If they run out during the year the teacher replenishes not the parent. However, I do not mind replenishing something my child have used or will use.

  46. Splat on August 16th, 2010 10:13 am

    I don’t have a problem contributing plastic bags and copy paper, but I do have a problem buying three packs of crayons and three packs of pencils and being asked not to put my childs name on these packages. Personally if you can’t afford to buy your own child a .25 cent pack of crayons then I will give you that quarter to hold between your knees.

    Also, why should the teacher have to supply these items? Why should someone else support YOUR child financially?

  47. Paul on August 16th, 2010 10:10 am

    When I hear about all of the budget problems and how hard times are it Really bothers me how P’cola is building a Multi Million Dollar ballpark. It’s a Crime.

  48. robert on August 16th, 2010 10:09 am

    Why is it now in school the kids have two sets of text books one for school and one for home this is rediculous. when i was in school if you needed a text book at home you brought the one from the school home with you. the second set of books is a waste of money that could be used to buy supplies that are needed. As far as the teachers paying for stuff out of their pockets it is not right but it happens. Teachers start out at 32,500 a year which is about 5,000 more than a lot of people i know. we really need to be looking at the superintendant’s salary. In Mobile county’s school system they are paying their super over 400,000 a year but they are asking us to supply copy paper for the teachers to use. me personally i don’t have a problem with the cleaning suppliezs and stuff like that but i’m not going to buy copy paper for the teachers to use on who knows what. it happens at every job where you see stuff that is personal and not related to work being printed.

  49. Parent of 3 girls on August 16th, 2010 10:02 am

    Even though these items are marked as optional, I feel obligated to buy them so my child does not feel embarassed by the teacher hounding her for them. My husband has been out of work for two months so money is extremely hard to come by. Last year, my child’s sixth grade teacher singled her out and asked about the optional items several times until I borrowed the money to purchase them.

  50. Really? on August 16th, 2010 10:00 am

    First, a big THANK YOU to all teachers, everywhere. I couldn’t do what you do.

    I agree w/Tipp and aam. Isn’t this what we pay taxes for?? When I saw copy paper and paper towels on the optional list I was really surprised. It’s not our job as parents to provide the school with paper towels and copy paper and some of those other optional items that are listed.. Those items should be the responibility of the school system, NOT the teachers, NOT the students.

  51. brittany on August 16th, 2010 9:53 am

    I think it’s stupid that high school has to wait for school to start before we know what to get.

  52. midievil on August 16th, 2010 9:40 am

    Yeah, they (ones with deeeep pockets) keep cutting jobs (my wife’s contract was not picked up for one from W.S. Neal middle School) and their pay continues to increase and we are continued to be asked to foot the bill…

  53. alabamamom on August 16th, 2010 9:04 am

    Ya’ll have no idea…we lived in northern Alabama and the list was so much worse. We had to fund the curriculum because the reading program the teacher “believed” in would not be paid for by the school, so our list had $20 cash from each child, plus we had to buy toilet paper for their private bathroom cause the school only supplied TP for the public bathrooms and that doesn’t include all of the normal supplies they always ask for (paper towels, sanitizer, paper, crayons, etc.). At the end of the year guess what they did with the surplus items?? They had a sale with the proceeds going back to the school! I know teachers have to pay for their own stuff, which is horrible enough but for parents to have to supply TP or the kids don’t have any?? Then turn around and sell the stuff we bought back to us?? I know alot of people disagree with our decision to homeschool, but public school and private school have gotten ridiculous. Besides I pay school tax even though I don’t have any kids attending these schools and so do all the other people who don’t have kids attending, including people who are spending money to privately educate their kids. Everyone is footing the bill…there is no reason for the educational system to be hurting the way it is except for mismanagement – on a local and national level.

  54. Tipp on August 16th, 2010 8:48 am

    Wow, this is something I have had on my mind ever since I got the supply list. I realize that my child needs these things, and I have no problem buying whatever it is that she may need. But in all actuality, isn’t this what we pay taxes for? I mean this is a little rediculous. I can see having to but things such as crayons, scissors, pencils, etc., but things such as copy paper and construction paper, and wipes, should be the responsibility of the board of education. The government does these types of thing sto us because they know we will do it for our children, and it is not just school it is about anything you buy (gas, groceries), they aren’t gonna stop. But if the Alabama school system is in such bad shape, maybe it is time to think about having a lottery? That would bring in a lot of money to our school system, instead of to Florida’s school system. I don’t know, it just blows my mind how the government operates and gets away with it and these people can have a clear conscience when they lay down at night? I sure wouldn’t, and then again I guess that is why I am not a polotician.

  55. JB on August 16th, 2010 8:19 am

    Something that a lot of people forget, is a lot of us teachers are parents too, so we have to provide for our students and for our children. We get $0 for instructional supplies, so anything that we need we have to go buy. I teach at a school that does not give out a supply list, we tell the students what they need for our class, paper, pens, etc. Other than that we usually pay for other items out of our pockets.
    Don’t forget many of us are parents too.

  56. Cram the north? on August 16th, 2010 7:53 am

    Does the cram the van people deliver supplies to the north end schools?

  57. Parent on August 16th, 2010 7:52 am

    I hate the teachers that say not to write my child’s name on the supplies I purchased with my money. I spend the few extra dollars to buy my elementary student the brand items — Crayola crayons, Fiskar’s scissors, etc.

    I don’t want her stuck coloring with the dollar store crayons out of the communal crayon bucket. They are harder to color with and there have been health concerns raised in the past by cheap crayons.

    My supplies purchased with my cash are my property. I want my kids to have the best. I work two jobs for that very purpose.

  58. TJ on August 16th, 2010 7:45 am

    At the end of the school year my child’s teacher in 2nd grade gave all the supplies back to the kids that was left over….. And I was there alot to HELP out so that do used alot of that stuff

  59. A mom on August 16th, 2010 7:45 am

    I thought the lottery was supposed be helping public schools in Florida?

  60. FYI on August 16th, 2010 7:32 am

    If you can afford it and have the heart to give the wish list items, then by all means do so. If not, then at least get what’s on the supply list and be sure to keep those items replenished througout the school year. School supplies get used up or wear out. Make sure your child is prepared in every way. Be an involved parent and don’t expect the teacher to do absolutely everything.

  61. Century Friend on August 16th, 2010 7:15 am

    I think too many people depend on Cram the Van or the nice teacher to get school supplies for the kid.

    They put them in $150 name brand shoes, but won’t buy them a 25 cent pack of pencils. Priorities are wrong.

  62. Chris Saul on August 16th, 2010 6:57 am

    I have two children and in school supplies alone was close to a hundred dollars. My child will never use 4 boxes of crayons he has had on box at home for 4 years. Two packages of number 2 pencils please….. I do not mind helping others that cannot afford it but the school should not assume that others will pick up the slack by buying more. Every year I feel the same way.

  63. aam on August 16th, 2010 6:57 am

    What I think is there is a lot of poor management that has been going on for years. There is fat to be trimmed in the management end of the school system for sure. The Teachers are the ones that suffer along with the students. I know I couldn’t do their job, I don’t have the patience. By the way thank you to the Escambia County Teachers because of you I am able to type this message.

  64. guest on August 16th, 2010 6:54 am

    ask Malcolm Thomas why he has moved the principal of Sidney Nelson to a smaller school overseeing only about 6 elememtary classes and she is still making over 70,000 a year……………………..ask him to cut her job and pay for the school supplies.

  65. cantonmentteacher on August 16th, 2010 6:42 am

    Of any state I’ve lived in (6 and counting) the school supply list is the longest here. The places it’s been the shortest have been those with higher school property taxes–more money for the schools to supply what we’re asked to buy here. When all 4 of my children were in school I spent in excess of $200 just to get them started–and that didn’t include the calculators they needed in high school. This year supplies for 2 were nearly $90.

    As a teacher I spend, on average, $300+ every year to buy materials for my classroom–and I don’t ask for copy paper or pens. I supply anything that isn’t “basic” and provide a lot of the basics for those who don’t/can’t supply their own.

  66. Wayne on August 16th, 2010 6:35 am

    Vote Democrate and schools will be better funded.

  67. Andrew Cmehil on August 16th, 2010 5:55 am

    I think that a “wish list” is fine if people can and want to purchase any of these items. But it seems like all government spokesmen are making like the budget is hurting and the teachers are not paid well. If my budget gets hurt I have to make adjustments, Government can do the same. Teachers a few years ago were making about $22,ooo a year. So their salry has increased even in the economic hardship while mine and most others has stayed the same. I was making about the same as teachers and I tried to help. But now teachers and other government officials are making a lot more and I feel like they still want me to give when I don’t have more like they do.

  68. justme on August 16th, 2010 5:53 am

    just my opinion and my opinion only…….(.i will probably be chastized for this but oh well thats life….)

    when i went to school waaaaaaay back in time).. i had to supply my own tissues, crayons,pens,paper, etc etc.. for ME not the entire class….our textbooks that were issued to us at the begining of the year ,we had to put a “deposit” down on them and got the money back at the end of the year . if we lost our textbooks we had to buy a new one, if we damaged them ( other than normal wear and tear) we had to pay for it, includes ripped pages, writing on them, unusable due to spilt stuff on them etc… etc…

    schools are only as good as the community thats supports them.

    i feel its wrong that the parents/guardians have to foot the bill for the classroom supplies . There are alot of families that cant even afford clothes or lunch money for their youngin’s.

    what about the cram the van program have the community assist with the classroom supplies?

    why cant the teachers take advantage of the “tax free back to school ” weekend?
    you can go to sams club and buy in bulk have the school teachers pool their money together and buy the supplies.

    school board needs to cut out some of the “personal expenditures” and focus on supplies, raises, and so forth

  69. Nicole on August 16th, 2010 5:50 am

    I do not think it should be optional…I think it should be manditory! If I remember correctly, when I went to school these items were manditory. I expect these items to be available in the classroom for my children, therefore I should be responsible for supplying them. I have a hard time wrapping my head around how anyone can think it is the teacher’s responsibility to provide kleenex, paper towels, paper, etc. for their child. I purchased the “optional” items, and will throughout the year if I see it is needed in the classroom. If EVERY parent pulled their weight, this would not be that large of a financial burden on any one individual family!!

  70. Hood over face on August 16th, 2010 1:35 am

    With the average salary in the area hovering somewhere in the $200.00 – $400.00 per week mark, teachers are starting out at $625.00 per week. That’s their base pay. Then we add the cost of health insurance, retirement plans, payroll taxes and all the off days when we pay a substitute and pay the teacher too. That should almost double the teacher’s salary.

    As for the supply list, we have 6 plastic bags bought so far that are full of paper towels, hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, dry marker pens and wet marker pens, Kleenex, and other assorted cleaning supplies – and that is for one child. The items weren’t “wish list” items – they are mandatory. My daughter-in-law paid for the supplies out of her salary of $190 per week. She still has to buy supplies and clothes for two more kids.

    I won’t say what I’m thinking, but I’m sure you can read my mind!

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.