DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - This year, an East Texas school district decided to do something a little different to help parents save some money.
Diboll Independent School District allocated nearly $25,000 dollars out of their own budget to purchase school supplies from local vendors for the 2,000 kids enrolled in the district.
"Our school supply initiative started about 10 months ago, and it started with parents contacting our office and saying, 'Hey, is there something we can do? Because these school supply lists are getting bigger and bigger,' and they wanted to look at some other opportunities and we chose to look at it," said Gary Martel, the superintendent for Diboll ISD. "So we actually started 10 months ago and began looking at different ways we could help our parents out,"
Martel began checking with vendors to see how much supplies would cost in bulk and even consulted with several families about what the district could actually provide.
"Our staff - our principals, our campus leadership - they all agree about things that we could do differently to help our parents. So, it's across the board. It's Pre-K through 12th Grade," said Martel. "As you get older, the school supplies list changes dramatically."
Jan Wilkerson, a grandmother of two Diboll ISD students, said she was one of the first parents to communicate with Martel about school supply price concerns. Wilkerson said she was unsure about the new program because she felt it might be unrealistic. However, she has since changed her mind.
"My grandkids, I think, the only thing they have purchased is paper and folders and some spirals and backpacks. So, they are, you know, less than $20 a piece," Wilkerson said. "So, compared to what it would've been if they had to buy numerous boxes of Kleenex's and numerous boxes of crayons, they didn't have to buy those things."
Parents are still expected to buy more personal things like backpacks, binders, composition books and folders. However, the East Texas News calculated how much personal school supplies would cost a parent of a second grade student at Diboll ISD, and the total came out to only $8. Compared to a parent of a second grader at Lufkin ISD, the price difference is nearly $50.
Martel said the program is still a work in progress, but they hope to continue the program next year.
"We just decided to stick our neck out and try it. I'm excited about where we are right now," Martel said. "I may not be in two weeks of school going in because there's going to be some issues and things that we deal with. But, we think we've put a good plan in place."
School board members are still working on different options and will be looking over the budget for several months.
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