Frequently Asked Questions about district-offered school supplies

  • June 12, 2019 — As part of continued efforts to improve Service, Excellence, and Equity for all students and families, Renton School District will offer school supplies for all elementary and middle school students this coming school year (2018-2019 School Year). The district will purchase the school supplies and families will pay a one-time, annual fee of $30 ($10 for families on free/reduced lunch) per student for the school supplies. The new program will simplify school supplies purchasing, and make the process more equitable, economical, and efficient for families.

    Here are answers to some questions about the new program:

    Q: Why was the program started in Renton School District?

    A: Equity, access, and consistency: For most families, the cost of school supplies throughout the school year can be well over $100 per child. With the ability to buy direct from wholesalers and in bulk, Renton Schools can purchase school supplies at a much lower cost, and pass the savings on to families.

    Q: What grade levels are included in the program?

    A: School supplies will be offered to elementary and middle school students. High school students will continue to provide their own school supplies.

    Q: What is included?

    A: Elementary Grades K-5:

    • School supplies provided at school (general list provided below)
    • Backpacks/lunchboxes provided by family

    Middle School Grades 6-8:

    • School supplies provided at school (general list provided below)
    • Backpacks/lunchboxes provided by family
    • School planners/ Sports & Activities Fees/ASB paid by families

    Q: What will the cost be to families?

    A: Families of elementary and middle school students will pay a one-time, annual fee of $30 per student to provide enough school supplies for the school year (the fee for students on free/reduced lunch is $10 per student). The fee covers both items for individual students to use and for supplies for general classroom use.

    Q: When and how can families pay for the supplies?

    A: Families can pay $30 per student ($10 per student for families on free- or reduced-lunch) by logging in to our online payment system. Families can also choose to pay by check at the start of the school year at their school.

    Q: Is this mandatory; do families have to participate?

    A: No. Families can continue to choose to purchase their own school supplies. There are no special steps to decline to participate: Families would simply provide their own materials and not pay the fee. (Families providing their own materials can use the grade-level school supply list example in the following answer.) 

    Q: What school supplies will students receive; and what school supplies should families who choose not to particpate purchase?

    A: Students will receive many of the same grade-level specific items that were present on previous school supply lists presented to families.

    Elementary: Pencils, Highlighters, Dividers, Large Eraser, Folders, Sticky Notes, Colored Pencils, Loose-leaf Notebook Paper (wide-rule), Washable Marker Set, Pencil Box, Scissors, Glue Sticks, Composition Notebooks, Black Permanent Marker, Ruler, Crayons, Laptop Earbuds/Headphones

    Middle School: Pencils, Highlighters, Pens (black and blue), Loose-leaf Notebook Paper (college-rule), 3” Binders, Dividers, Large Eraser, Pencil Pouch, Graph Paper Notebooks, Folders, Sticky Notes, Colored Pencils, Laptop Earbuds

    Q: Are there also general school supplies provided for classroom use?

    A: Yes. Teachers will also be provided many of the classroom-related items on previous supply lists.

    Including: Dry Erase Markers, Dry Eraser, Copy Paper, Zip Top Bags (gallon size), Disinfectant Wipes, Hand Sanitizer, Pencil Caddy, Boxes of Tissues, Glue

    Q: Will teachers who have specific school supply needs based on their subject matter be provided those specialty items?

    A: Yes. The district will work with school principals to determine those needs.

    Q: How were the list of school supplies selected?

    A: Teachers and school staff previously created grade-level school suply lists which were posted on school websites, and provided to families. The district used those staff-created lists to create the list of school supplies to provide to students.

    Q: Will consideration be given to ensure high-demand school supplies are available?

    A: Yes. Some items are used quite a bit in classrooms as teachers present district curriculum. We will ensure there are enough of those high-use items for students.

    Q: What happens when students or classrooms run out of the initially-provided school supplies?

    A: Schools will be provided additional supplies to be stored at school to access when initial supplies are depleted. Also, teachers and school staff can work with their principal and front office staff to order additional school supplies as needed through the school year.

    Q: What can classrooms or schools do to request speciality items?

    A: Schools have decision-making ability to purchase speciality items considered important to a specific classroom through their building budgets. Principals and teachers will work to decide the need and order items.

    Q: What will the program cost the district?

    A: We continue to work on the list of items to purchase for each grade level; so, we do not yet have a fixed cost for the program. We will continue to work with individuals and community organizations who assist with funding school-realted programs. We’re confident that through the fee process and community partnerships the program will have minimal impact on the district’s budget.

    Q: How will students receive the supplies?

    A: District staff will order school supplies in enough time to have them delivered to elementary and middle schools by early August. Schools will make the supplies available for individual teachers to be ready to provide to students at the start of school on August 29, 2018.