Return to School Supplies 2017-2018

PTA classroom supplies purchasing FAQ

We hope the following questions and answers will address any concerns or confusion about the PTA Supplies Program initiated as a trial in Fall 2017. Contact us at pta@tmlink.org with any further questions.

  1. “I can’t afford the $40.”
    Or
    “I already have supplies to bring in.”

Please don’t worry. Pay only if you are able. Classroom supplies, including “personal” items such as pencil boxes, folders and binders, already have been purchased for every student, so if you already have bought or received typical supplies, you could hold on to them for future use, or perhaps donate them.

Backpacks and lunch boxes are not included. If you need a backpack for your student, please contact the school at 206-252-2800.

  1. “What does my $40 purchase?”

Teachers were asked last spring to specify their classroom’s needs. The items vary somewhat by classroom, but more than 2 dozen items, including pencils and other writing/drawing tools; notebooks and other paper products; binders and folders; tissues and hand-sanitizer. We are buying some sturdier items, such as rulers, that we expect to use for multiple years.

We believe the average cost per student will comes out to just under $30, but we know that not every family can afford to pay. Therefore, we have set the per-student payment at $40.

  1. “So, does my student still need to bring anything from home?”

Yes! A backpack, for sure, and lunch box if your student brings lunch. For example, your student might be asked to bring in a reusable water bottle, or (for projects) an empty shoe box or milk carton, etc. See #4.

  1. “Will teachers request additional supplies from families, anyway?”

Teachers were asked last spring to specify their classroom’s needs, and the PTA ordered corresponding amounts of items. Some teachers may ask families to bring in special items. For example, your student might be asked to bring a reusable water bottle, or (for projects) an empty shoe box or milk carton, etc.

Some teachers ordered a relatively smaller amount of supplies, and have been advised they can ask the PTA to order items needed later in the year. Regardless, we hope to have the ability to cover any reasonable, additional need of any teacher.

  1. “How did this program become the only way to buy supplies for my TM student?”

In recent years, PTA leaders have heard from parents who asked us to address the inefficiency and potential inequity of the school requiring each family to individually fulfill the supplies list. Before initiating this program, we looked at the experience at other schools and took into account that Thurgood Marshall staff have long had to find ways cover the needs of families unable to purchase the items on their child’s supplies list.

We hope this trial program will create convenience as well as equity among classrooms. The PTA is committed to ensuring that every student has the pencils, paper and so many other items they’ll need for a great year in school.

  1. “Where is the actual list for Grade __? I’d rather not pay $40, since we already have pencils and many supplies at home.”

    No list will be distributed but each teacher was able to custom-order for their classroom. All necessary classroom supplies requested by the teachers have been purchased already.

    Pay only if you are able to. You may wish to return to the store the supplies you had already purchased, or retain them for a future year or home use.

  2. “Are you sure this is saving money?”

    We are investing in some sturdier items, such as rulers, that we expect to use for multiple years. Otherwise, we are purchasing many items in large quantities that lead to discounts.

  3. “Will the cost be the same each year?”

The cost may fluctuate based upon teacher need year to year.  This year’s supplies include items that will last longer than others, such as scissors, calculators and rulers.  We expect to upgrade some items each year to provide the best quality items at an average cost to families, so the cost should remain between $30-$40 per year.

Permanent link to this article: http://tmlink.org/school-supplies/pta-classroom-supplies-purchasing-faq/