Parents Question Increasing School Supply Demands

CHICAGO (CBS) — Bars of soap, two dozen glue sticks and reams of copy paper — not what you’d expect to find in your child’s backpack, but more and more Chicago Public Schools are asking parents to bring items like those on the first day of school.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports on why it’s not like the lists of yesteryear.

Rosemary Sierra is on her annual school supply pilgrimage. It’s a long list and one she noticed, is getting longer each year.

That’s an observation many other Chicago Public School parents are making, too. The lists are getting more extensive and increasingly seem to include items like baby wipes, paper towels, Ziploc bags and other things usually reserved for a kitchen or bathroom.

Monique Williams, a parent of four CPS students, isn’t thrilled about some of the items.

“Every year, I notice they’re adding things on there I feel the school should be supplying, like the teacher needs: board markers, erasers, red ink pens,” Williams said.

“I don’t feel that the parents should have to buy those things. We have to buy enough for the kids. Why do we have to buy the teachers their school supplies?”

Adding to the financial strain? Some public schools are asking families for annual donations of $1,000 or more.

“It’s pretty extensive,” says new schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

He says funding cuts are making lists, like many out now, necessary. But he says parents who can’t buy all supplies aren’t expected to.

“Principals often have a back-up plan to support children and parents who cannot actually do this,” he says.

And if you think parents are getting hit hard, Brizard says teachers have long been buying supplies out of their own pockets for their students and continue to do so.

“It’s an ongoing issue,” he says.

  • Patrick they want their taxes raised instead? Stop whining

    • ed

      I agree, people need to shut up and stop whinning. As a homeowner I am paying taxes for public school, which my kids don’t even attend. They attend private school and yes they ask for paper towels, baby wipes, clorox wipes and all other general school supplies. People that send their children to public sometimes don’t even own property they rent, and they are going to complain. They can do some donations to the school they are getting education free, why complain. Shut up and give something back! It’s time to stop receiving is time to give back!!!

      • MyBoys

        Ed, you may want to take a look at the disbursement of your property taxes. I was shocked to find that not THAT much went to the schools in my area. When you pair that up with the cost of educating a child it does not equate. Or we can just go with your ‘Shut up and give something back!” argument… during a recession…

  • Kathleen

    Patrick, Shut Up! They have every reason to whine, as you call it.
    The School Budget is being eaten up with Government Spending! The parents NEVER in the history of school…had to buy these kind of things before!
    It’s ridiculous & I would Flat Out Refuse To Buy This Stuff! Let Governor Quinn get his spending habits in order…He’s as bad with the spending as Obama!
    Raising the Illinois taxes 67% should be MORE then enough to cover this!
    What do they think we’re made of money?

  • Kathleen

    I also happen to know that in the past, some of the schools got donations from several companies…such things as cake mix, juices, soda, etc…for class parties, & the school staff took it for themselves!

  • teganx7

    Parents elect the politicians. Parents (and other tax-payers) continually try and toe the line on property taxes (who can blame them?) The politicians then cut money to the schools in addition to what is cut by property taxes. At the same time, parents and politicians are demanding more and more from teachers who were overtaxed in some schools a long time ago. This is typical of America: demand more and more while being willing to spend less and less: you get what you pay for. Corporations that offer the most perks, generally attract the best employees. Schools who offer their teachers the most perks generally attract the better teachers. Schools who are able to provide the supplies needed to teach the curriculum, generally don’t have teachers scrambling to eliminate parts of the curriculum or replacing activities with lectures that rarely are as effective.

    I understand that we are in an economic crisis that has complex causes. I appreciate the need to make cuts everywhere (including education) … I just don’t like it when I see the senior citizens demanding cuts and cuts (except social security) …. or labor unionists who demand cuts everywhere (except overtime). Nothing like a crisis like this brings out greed and “everyone but me” in people. Instead of pointing fingers and telling people to “shut up” … maybe a little empathy towards everyone would go a long way in times like these.

    • GO Southside


  • iinoyfb2

    Parents, it’s ‘for the children’, so suck it up and support your kids and your kids school. It’s the LEAST you can do to show your child that you support them.

  • Janet

    I have lived in two school districts outside of the city of Chicago and this is really nothing new. Both public and private schools have had these requirements for years.

  • Gerald Spencer

    There was a point where schools received the highest portion of the real estate taxes. Is that still true?
    What happened to all the Dry Erase products that school principle threw in the dumpsters as garbage, all those unopened boxes of products?
    Any list should include the reason why an item is requested; i.e., copy paper for map drawing lessons, quart or gallon size Ziploc bags for soiled underwear after pop quiz.

    • MyBoys

      I was laughing at the fact this was even News Worthy! Been doing this since my children entered public schools in the suburbs. In addition to the ‘Supply’ list, we are also hit with an annual ‘Registration’ fee which Runs $125.00-$200.00 PER CHILD (I have 3). I will gladly meet these requests for the sake of my children, and feel I can demand accountability on the schools for their spending habits as well.

  • Alex

    Schools for the most part determine what they are going to use their budget on. Some schools prefer to spend it on hiring and keeping staff or programs. They would hope that parents would understand this and contribute by buying soap, paper towels, etc. When you have 30+ students you go through a box of tissue, hand sanitizer, wipes in sometimes less than a week. If these are things that your child is using then why complain. These are small things that teachers ask for. Maybe they should show you all the receipts for the things they buy for the class that you are not aware of. Believe me it’s probably way more than what you spent. Look for sales and stop complaining

  • Josie

    I only have two kids because I know I can’t afford more. Maybe some should have thought this too before having too many kids that they can’t afford things for their child’s education.

  • GO Southside

    Where is the Lottery Money Going to? I thought that was also intended to go towards education funding.

  • FR

    Schools should save by not teaching un-necessary things like History which by definition is OLD NEWS. Instead teach how to read stock charts to beat the market, (beat the fat cats). At least that way kids can invest to help support themselves.

  • GO Southside

    Some of the surrounding suburbs also are asking for extra supplies. So CPS is not the only ones suffering. I am not sure what is going to happen to us in this lifetime.

    State’s can’t cover our children’s education costs.
    Yet we pay higher gas prices, high real estate/property taxes, high county taxes, state sales taxes, internet sales taxes. So where does this FA’QUE’N money go to

  • Lisa Ladonski

    I don’t understand the big deal…this stuff has been on supply lists since I was a kid (I’m in my late 20’s now). The dry-erase markers can be used for personal white boards that the students use, much like pencils and paper. Kids use tissue and sanitizer daily, and it’s all about keeping the classroom a healthier place. Paper towels are used for cleanup after art projects and such. It sucks that we have to pay this (and some parents have to do it for more than one kid!) but it’s part of having kids.

  • kcfrierson

    I have no problem with buying everything on my children’s very lengthy school supply list. I have three children that are in elementary school and i myself am also in school (again, an on my own dime I might add) so buying school supplies takes quite a bite out of my wallet. But my children and I really enjoy shopping for them together and putting their names on their stuff and packing their back packs.

    I splurge and buy my children the quality supplies and not the cheap stuff, because I want the folders to last longer and I want them to take pride in the things that they own, so you can imagine the SHOCK i got when my child came home from his first day of 3rd grade with a CHEAP paper folder instead of the nice plastic one I bought him. When I asked my kid where his folder was he said that the teacher made everyone pass their supplies to the front and then she redistributed them back to the class. SHE SCRATCHED MY SONS NAME OUT OF HIS FOLDER AND GAVE IT TO ANOTHER KID AND GAVE HIM AN INFERIOR PRODUCT IN RETURN!!!! When I questioned this practice I was met with “that’s how we’ve always done it and no body complained”. Well After I enlightened them on the theft laws of FL they reluctantly returned my sons PROPERTY. Now I have NO PROBLEM what so ever with buying extra supplies for the teacher to have on hand for the kids that don’t have any, but I have a REAL problem with THEFT. My son should expect that his rights to private property should be respected ,of all places, at HIS school and he should know that it is wrong to seize something that belongs to someone else, remove their name from it and give it to another person. This year my daughter is going into the 3rd grade and I will be buying her supplies and sending in a few spares for the kids whose parents can’t and or won’t buy for them, but I by God dare them to scratch my child’s name off of her PRIVATE PROPERTY and give it to some one else. I will press charges against them.

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