Paying for school supplies: a daunting task for local families

Posted: Aug 01, 2018 10:56 PM MDT
Written By Caiti Blase

It’s that time of year again when kids are headed back to school and parents are having to pony up more money to pay for school supplies.

It’s an expenditure that can add up to hundreds of dollars for some families in the Pikes Peak region and it can be a struggle.

Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum, says just like anything else there’s inflation with school supplies. However, parents also say there’s now additional fees for things like iPad’s and the list of items assigned to students has become pretty lengthy.

Bailey said, “It’s a large industry. The school supply industry in 2017 added up to about $30 billion.”

Bailey is an economist, but she’s also a parent with kids in Academy School District 20.

“It turns out to be a little bit of a dent in the budget.”

Fellow parent Kristina Garofalo, who also has kids in District 20, feels the same way.

“I get a little apprehensive as I’m trying to think about my budget and what might need to give this time of the year in order to get those supplies, and to make sure that the kids are ready and prepared.”

For Garofalo, it’s about $100 each year per child. However, that doesn’t include the iPad fee for her kids which is about $50 as well, and the beginning of the year isn’t the only time she has to pay for supplies.

“The teacher will email us…what additional supplies are needed throughout the year.”

It’s a different story in other districts.

Brynn Stroope, a parent in the Harrison School District, said, “Thankfully this year we just have to pay a flat fee and just buy a backpack and a binder.”

That comes to about $30 for Stroope and she knows it’s a struggle for some people.

“There’s a lot of families that don’t have the ability to choose school supplies over school clothes or shoes or food.”

It’s why she started the Facebook group “Colorado Springs Helping Neighbors” which reaches out to the community to gather donated school supplies. At this year’s giveaway 115 backpacks were distributed and 20 other people received supplies. The upside is that over 100 families were helped. The downside: that that number will most likely increase alongside the rising costs for school supplies.

If you need help paying for school supplies consider contacting groups like “Colorado Springs Helping Neighbors.” Also, reach out to your school to find out how it can help.