Drawing the line on school supply lists

The list of items your family needs in case of a catastrophic event does not begin to compare to the number of items required to start the school year. You parents know what I TMm talking about. It TMs out of hand!

I have three school-aged girls. I don TMt know what got into me, but I took them shopping on Missouri TMs tax-free weekend recently. I guess I wanted to save a few bucks, but when you have to jostle hundreds of other shoppers for a 30-cent bottle of Elmer TMs, I TMm not sure it TMs worth the effort. What we got were the basics"no clothes, shoes, back packs or extras. No GermX either"Wal-Mart was out, if you can believe that. We spent $155 tax-free dollars. That TMs less than some, more than others, but still way too much.

I try to recall my own school days and I just cannot remember having a supply list. I know I came to the first day of class equipped with notebooks and a couple #2 pencils, but that TMs it. I don TMt even remember buying crayons. What I do know is that I didn TMt have to tote a case of baby wipes on the opening day of elementary school.

The most outrageous purchase I TMve made in our years of schooling is a dozen pink erasers. You know, those clunky, chunky pink erasers that no one actually uses? The erasers that the kids with cooties chew on? Yes, those erasers. Now, it TMs not like a dozen pink erasers will break the bank, but come on!! One pink eraser is enough to last a lifetime. Who could possibly need 12 pink erasers? I grudgingly bought the danged erasers. Those were the early days when this dutiful mother checked off everything on the list. Today, this mother is the slacker who sends one eraser and tells her kids to let her know if they need another. For the same reason, I don TMt get stressed out if I send the wrong brand. Why aren TMt Rose Art crayons good enough for my girls? Must they really have Crayola? I TMve seen the school TMs storage room. The Kleenex are stacked ten feet high. If I send 8 boxes of 120 tissues when the list calls for 175 count, I don TMt care. Harsh, huh?

In recent years, our communities have put together great programs to help out with back-to-school supplies. At KHQA, we teamed up to sponsor a supply drive and the response was incredible. With your help, we stocked an entire school bus with donations. The need is great. A low-income family has a hard time buying shoes for their kids. Three bottles of $5 hand sanitizer is too much to ask of a family that is having a hard time putting food on the table.

I suspect that in the past, teachers have had to pitch in way too much money to buy supplies for classes. I TMm sure many teachers still do. That should not be their expense. But schools should not go overboard in what they require either. Some of the items are frivolous, others rarely used. Quantities often go overboard. A teacher should be able to get by on fewer than 100 white board erasers. There needs to be a happy medium.

Take care~Sarah D.