Supplemental school supplies can cost upward of $150 with backpacks
In Arizona, state law requires public schools to provide students with the supplies needed for academic success.
With that in mind, however, school districts annually provide a list of optional and supplementary items that students may purchase at their discretion. In the region, a number of no-profit agencies, clubs, churches and businesses donate supplies of various sorts, as well as backpacks, to individual schools and classrooms to assure children have what they need for the year. Parents, too, purchase items that they can afford from advisory lists.
To try and calculate some of the costs, The Daily Courier visited a local chain store and priced out various items on one of the district’s supplemental supply lists for elementary and middle schools. The calculated average if all items were purchased was about $135 for just supplies and an additional $10 to $20 for a backpack (not including sales taxes). Themed items, including Disney character notebooks and folders, were a higher price than the generic, one-color versions, such as $1.96 “Frozen” one pocket folder versus $0.87 for a plain one.
Crayon packages could be purchased four for a $1; pencil cases for under $1 and reams of copy paper for $4.97. A box of six erasers was $1.84 and a package of 50 colored pencils was $6.97. A soft-sided binder folder with multiple pockets was $12.97 up to about $15. A box of Sharpie markers cost $5.97 and a box of six Highlighters cost $5.97. A box of six Dry Erase markers cost $3.74.
Store brand disinfectant wipes cost about $3.12 and a two-pack of paper towels was $3.67 and $0.92 for a box of tissues. A small bottle of hand sanitizer was $0.96. All of the lists asked for quart and gallon-sized plastic bags and generic brands ranged from $3 to $5; name brands were about $7.
Three-ring spiral notebooks cost just under $4 and in some cases multiple notebooks were listed.
For some individual classes, the cost for basic supplies was about $20 minus the backpack; for others it was closer to $40 or $50 minus the backpacks.
For families still shopping for supplies, most of the area stores have kiosks with both school and class lists. School district offices and teachers will also have printed supply lists for those who request them.