In an unprecedented move, the Pickens County school system announced it will provide all “consumable” school supplies for the upcoming school year at no cost to parents.
These supplies include paper, pencils, folders, hand sanitizer, crayons, and other items needed for classroom instruction. According to a press release on July 10, parents are free to purchase additional personal items like backpacks, pencil boxes, and lunchboxes if they choose. If students have particular items such as certain writing utensils they prefer, they will be allowed to use those as well.
There will be no school supply lists issued this year. School supplies will be made available at every grade level. Some teachers may have “wish lists” they send home to parents.
“We are going to provide everything our students need to get an education,” said Assistant Superintendent Tony Young. “Over the years, we kept hearing that the school lists were getting bigger and bigger, and it was becoming quite expensive for parents to get kids to school. This will also create more uniformity across the system in terms of what types of items students use.”
According to the assistant superintendent, the system hopes to save money by purchasing items in bulk and storing them at the system’s warehouse (the old Jasper Elementary School gymnasium). Supply costs will come out of each school’s budget.
Superintendent Carlton Wilson said he does not have exact costs nailed down, “but I don’t expect them to be exorbitant.”
Dr. Wilson said he isn’t aware of other school systems that provide classroom materials at no cost.
“I just felt strongly that if something is needed for instruction, the system should provide it,” he said.
“We are always looking for ways to enhance the education of our students as well as assist parents in their beginning of the school year preparations,” Dr. Wilson said in the press release. “We are looking forward to a positive year filled with many educational experiences for each and every student enrolled with us. We hope that providing students with the supplies they need will help accomplish this goal.”