Solving the school supplies cost issue

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Solving the school supplies cost issue

Previously, we brought you a story about the rising cost of school supplies. In Hernando County, the school year commenced on August 14, 2017, so all month, social media has been exploding with adorable pictures as well as parents complaining about all the money they had to spend. On top of new clothes or uniforms, parents have to purchase school supplies for their children. Because of major budget cuts in the school system through the years, parents are being required to pay for so much that the schools used to provide. This increase in extra supplies and fees has left many parents exasperated and even some irate.

The trend in Florida, as well as in many other states, has shifted from parents sending in supplies for their individual child, to each student bringing in supplies and turning them into the teacher to provide for the entire class. The teacher then doles out supplies as necessary and never returns it. This means that every year the parents have to buy brand new markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, folders, notebooks, paper, pencils, etc for each one of their children, and their own children may not even get to use those items.

Parents wanted to know why out of almost 43 million dollars available (in the school board’s budget), more isn’t being allocated to school supplies and why the burden of school supplies being forced upon parents and teachers? At the time of printing, The Hernando County School Board had no response on the situation, however it was not intentional. They were busy with getting the first week of school running smoothly, but the next week they finally had a chance to respond.
Hernando County Schools Representative, Karen Jordan, says,

“First let me correct the statement about activity fees. Teachers do not determine fees. Those fees are determined by committee and published in our student handbook https://fl02211909.schoolwires.net/cms/lib/FL02211909/Centricity/Domain/... (pgs. 76-78).

However, we have heard the concerns raised by parents regarding supply requests from schools and/or teachers. Because those requests come from the school, district staff have reached out to administrators to gather information about how they identify supply needs and what their process is of storing those supplies. We also wanted to ensure their staff is aware of other available resources that would help to defray cost to families.

Our goal moving forward is to identify ways to reduce costs for our families while taking care not to diminish opportunities to provide dynamic, hands-on lessons for students.”

While researching this issue, The Hernando Sun came across an amazing hidden gem that will definitely assuage some of the future school supply stress- The Hernando County Education Foundation. They have two “Tools 4 Schools” stores set up to give out FREE SCHOOL SUPPLIES throughout the year! The Spring Hill store is on the campus of Springstead High School and the Brooksville Store is located at 900 Emerson Rd. Our county’s teachers can stop by once a month and grab supplies for their classrooms at no charge. Both locations were open at least 7 different days in August for teachers to obtain free supplies. For a full calendar and more information visit www.hernandoeducationfoundation.org.

The Hernando Education Foundation even had a booth set up at the recent Food Truck Fiesta at Anderson Snow Park. A spokesperson from the foundation stated that she’s amazed at how many teachers don’t realize that they can get free supplies. Their organization went to every single Hernando County School before school started this year and gave a presentation about their organization and how to get free supplies.

So to resolve this hot topic, parents can be assured that the school board is working with the schools to find out where the breakdown in communication is and to correct it. If the “activity fee” or “supply fee” that your child’s teachers or schools are asking for is not listed in the handbook listed above, they are not in compliance with district rules and you do not have to pay it. In addition, let’s all spread the word about the Tools 4 Schools store from Hernando Education Foundation, so that our teachers can get the much needed supplies for free! The next time the stores are open are September 5th and 6th- Teachers please take advantage of this amazing gift.

Got another “Hot Topic” you want answers to? Email michelle@hernandosun.com