Tupelo schools aim to cut costs on supply lists

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo parents could spend less this summer on school supplies, as the city’s school district reworked the way it prepares the list of requested items.
Gone are individual lists for each school. Instead, a group of teachers crafted a consistent list for each grade level across the district. The parameter was to be sensitive to prices and to keep the total cost close to $20.
“We’ve tried to keep it reasonable because parents were overwhelmed at the beginning of the past school year with all of the fees and supplies, and we wanted to be sensitive to families,” said Assistant Superintendent Diana Ezell.
Even though the summer has just begun, parents can begin their back-to-school shopping now, as those lists are available on the district’s website, www.tupeloschools.com. They can be accessed by clicking the “school supply lists” link on the left side of the page.
“We try to do it as early as we can because we know if you have more than one child, it is nice to be able to stock up in the summer when things are on sale,” Ezell said.
The new lists were a priority of the Teacher Advisory Council, Ezell said.
The lists note the items specifically needed for the start of school. It is those items whose total cost is supposed to be near $20.
They also include in parenthesis additional quantities of each item as needed for the entire school year. Ezell said the district wanted to do this in case parents wanted to take advantage of back-to-school sales to buy all of the items at once.
Several lists also contain a wish list of items that would be helpful to the class but are not required.
School districts receive money to be used by teachers for buying supplies each year from the state. However, that amount has been cut in recent years, forcing teachers to find other methods to get supplies for their classrooms.
The temptation, Ezell said, is to add more items to school supply lists, but she added that the district wanted to be deliberate about limiting them to $20 at the beginning of the year.
The new lists were developed by a group of teachers that met several times near the end of the school year to collaborate on the common supplies. Each school had an opportunity to send a representative teacher from each of its grades.
Lists are for each grade from prekindergarten to eighth.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com