East Texas school districts address school supply blues

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The lists are getting larger and the prices are getting steeper. But for back-to-school shoppers, it's the price to pay to make sure kids get the supplies they need for the classroom.

Right now, most school supply lists are ranging anywhere from $30 to $200, and if you have several kids that's a lot of money.

Jennifer Pigg says she generally spends $80 on school supplies for each of her children, and she doesn't think that's normal.

"That's probably a little more, but where we lived in Dallas it was usually pre-packaged and I could buy it for about $50 for each of them," Pigg said.

But Huntington Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright says while he wishes his district could provide pre-packaged school supplies, it's just not manageable.

"In the past, Brookshire Brothers or Walmart and some of the other groups have made us some packs that they have donated, but we don't have the man power to do it here," Wright said.

Instead, HISD likes to update the list each year and release them in advance.

"In the long run, that list is a wish list and we hope that everyone can get it, but if they aren't able to acquire all the items on the list, we're certainly not going to keep them from entering the school," Wright said.

But for other districts like Lufkin Independent School District, the lists are a little more expensive. However, the district says they are trying to work with parents about financial concerns.

"District leaders are working to streamline a standardized school supplies list. We understand financial concerns and will be working to ensure that items that are requested are essential for our students. If there is a need for help with school supplies, there are community resources available," Sheila Adams, the communications and public relations director, said in a statement.

But most districts say they rely on fundraiser's and third-party donations to raise funds for those supplies that parents are unable to purchase. Yet, they say it's hard to get all supplies from fundraiser's.

"School supplies are becoming more costly each year and our goal is to help ease the burden on families. Many teachers and support staff have actually taken money out of their own pockets to take care of student needs in our district," Allen Garner, the superintendent for Central Independent School District, said.

Garner says CISD was able to raise $15,468 in 2012 for their elementary campus of over 750 students. But he says they will need to spend about $10,994 on school supplies to help cover classroom needs for the 2013-2014 school year.

Right now, Target and Walmart are offering several discounts for back-to-school shoppers and with Tax Free Weekend right around the corner, parents can expect a surge of coupons and discounts to be available.

Meanwhile, districts say they do understand the financial burden some families are under, and are willing to do whatever they can to help.

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