Back-to-School Lists Bust Budgets

Cash-strapped districts turn to parents for 'communal' supplies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2008 6:34 AM CDT
With a list of school supplies and calculator in hand, Diamond Emory, left, compares prices of erasable markers with her son Eric at a Wal-Mart store Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008 in Ohio.    (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
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(Newser) – Ever-expanding back-to-school lists are squeezing family budgets, the New York Times reports. The bill often tops three figures as school ask for pricey items like flash drives—often specifying the brand name. And many cash-strapped districts are turning to parents to provide supplies like paper towels, baby wipes and Band-Aids, once held by the school custodian or nurse.

Some parents are happy with the extra involvement the shopping gives them, but others complain that not only are the lists too costly, many of the items never get used. Some districts have started putting a cap on shopping lists. Others have barred schools from requiring students to provide communal items, worried that the ones who bring in the most might get special treatment.