August 14, 2019

As we get ready for the new school year, we look back on one of our earlier shows that addresses a topic that affects many kids in the country...the high cost of school supplies that puts a strain on many families.

When it comes to things like school supplies, those are the things that can make or break your budget.  The cost of everything keeps going up…then it makes everything else a struggle.

Across the country, the National Retail Foundation claims families of students from elementary to college will spend $80.7 billion purchasing back-to-school items this year, topping the previous record of $688.62 set in 2012.

Experts say school districts budgets are tightening and they now have less money for supplies.  This forces them to rely more on parents for those items like markers, construction paper, wet wipes, tissues, reams of paper and printer ink.  While this situation is a hassle for middle-class parents, it’s a much bigger burden for poor families, who already struggle just to outfit their own kids for school.

Expecting lower-income parents to shoulder more of the cost for public school can lead to a two-tier educational experience that shortchanges their kids.  This can also hurt these children socially because they don’t have what the other kids have and they know it. 

The Education Market Association says that virtually all teachers wind up paying out of pocket for supplies.  On average, most spent nearly $500 last year. 

And this is where one charity is working hard to make a difference in their community, both for the students and teachers...

While in Portland, Oregon, Adrian and Bev had the chance to talk with Caitlin Collings-Domingo, Community Engagement Manager of the nonprofit Schoolhouse Supplies.

Schoolhouse Supplies operates Oregon’s first and only Free Store for Teachers to provide teachers with the classroom supplies needed to encourage the learning process for all students, and the Tools for Schools backpack program to support the highest-need school communities in Portland. Today, we are a nationally recognized leader in the Free Store movement, which creates direct links between students and members of the community.

Their organization is based on the belief that every child deserves school supplies and has the right to a quality education regardless of circumstance.  @schoolhousesupplies

Today we hear from John Bierly and Kimberly O'Keefe.  Kimberly joins John as a Peace Fund correspondent, sharing news from The Peace Fund and bringing listeners our Heroes of the Week.

Kid Hero
Kid Hero