Parents dread costly back to school supply lists

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SAN DIEGO —The first day of school is over for San Diego Unified Schools, but the headaches are just beginning for many parents.

As Denise Covert and other parents waited outside their children’s school Tuesday, they were dreading the classroom supply list.

“I mean as soon as school starts you have to worry about having enough money to get all of their supplies, because you can’t send them without it. They need it,” Covert said.

school-girlsIt’s not just her child she has to worry about. Every year, more suggestions for the classroom creep on the list to help the school save cash. It winds up costing Covert and other parents in San Diego Unified Schools more money every year.

“I get a lot of lists for hand sanitizer, tissue… copy paper because they don’t pay for their own paper anymore, markers, pencils, pens, construction paper, glue, tons of glue,” Covert said.

Covert has two kids in the district and she estimates she’ll spend $200 on each of their school supplies.

In Lakeside, it’s a familiar story for Teresa Leader-Anderson, whose daughter had her first day at Riverview Elementary and has already spent about $100 on school supplies.

“When we go [shopping] we’ll do one for my daughter and one for the school,” Leader-Anderson said.

The list sent to parents clearly states the donations aren’t mandatory and strictly voluntary, but Leader-Anderson said she still feels the need to chip in a little extra.

“I just think it’s important to help the best we can,” Leader-Anderson said. “I feel like [my daughter] is getting a quality education so I don’t mind helping out a little bit more to make it even better.”

Fox5 reached out to a representative from San Diego Unified Schools about the concerns of parents like Covert.

They said it’s against the law to require parents to buy supplies for the classroom and that it is easy for them to get suggestions confused with requirements.

“I guess I would be confused,” Covert said. “Because when you get the paper sent home with your saying this is the list of supplies that they are going to need and if you can donate the rest you almost feel obligated.”

Covert added, “You don’t want your child to be the only one who didn’t bring something in and didn’t contribute.”

Parents of San Diego Unified School District that have a problem with a fee or a school supply list should call the principal or the Parent Support Liaison office at 619-725-7211.

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