Parents struggle to keep up with school supplies list

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It is time to go back to school for many Michiana kids. This year, parents say they are having to dig extra deep in their finances to send their kids back to school prepared.

"Three boxes of paper towel, Clorox wipes, dry erase markers, the list goes on."  Melanie Ellis has two daughters in South Bend Community Schools, she says the list of school supplies teachers are asking for this year, is nothing like the one she remembers getting when she was in school.

"In my daughter’s class they even want her to have another pair of shoes so when they come in from recess they have clean shoes to keep the carpet clean."

Parents tell Abc 57, going back to school seems to get more expensive year after year. "This year, we’re looking at about $200 dollars and that’s just for one child," explained Ellis.  Heather Elswick has kids in Penn-Harris Madison school district, she says she feels for parents who have a lot of kids.  "I can't imagine, how do other parents do it with four or five kids?"

South Bend Community Schools says 70 percent of their students live below or around the poverty line, so sending kids back to school fully equipped is challenging for many families. "Some parents just can't do it and it’s a struggle to do it;  I actually just dropped off two backpacks to friends because they were short on hours at their job and could not afford school supplies," said Ellis.

That need is the reason teachers are asking for more help. If kids show up empty handed, teachers often pay for supplies out of their own pockets. "Which is sad because no teacher should have to do that, they don’t get paid enough to be taking it out of their own pockets." Expressed Elswick.

Parents feel bad that so much responsibility falls on teachers, they say there is no denying it can be hard to make ends meet.

"It is hard for the parents, whether you are single or whether you are married its hard."

South Bend Community Schools are trying to relieve families of some of the financial burden by offering free lunch to all students this school year.

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