ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Parents in Hawkins Co. could see some financial help this school year. The Board of Education is set to vote on moving $250,000 from the General Purpose Fund to the Instructional Supply Allotment to help purchase school supplies for students.
The amount is based on the 2021-2022 year enrollment numbers and amounts to $40 per student across the district.
“In light of the economy, the higher price that all of us are paying not only at the gas pump but for our groceries but for just life, for living… I think this is a way for us to give back,” said Debbie Shedden, the Vice Chair for the BOE, who introduced the idea. “Those families that need the most relief, this is going to assist them in helping their child to get the best start for school. We want every child in Hawkins County to have what they need to have a successful school year.”
Shedden says each student will get $40 in an individual account to use on school needs, despite Hawkins Co. Schools already starting the school year Monday.
“Many of our parents may have already bought school supplies, but that $40 will remain with their child through the course of the year because what they’re buying initially is not going to last them throughout the entire year,” Shedden said. “This could be a help to them in January, it could be a help next spring.”
Parents told News Channel 11 that any amount is helpful as prices are rising.
“School supplies are expensive, especially with the cost of living around you right now,” said Makayla Arnold, whose son started kindergarten at Joseph Rogers Primary School. “Plus school lunches. I feel like if they help you with the supplies, especially being a single parent, I feel like it would help us a lot.”
Arnold said that shopping for this school year cost her and her son’s father about $150 each.
“We had to have like tissue paper, paper towels, stuff for the classroom, plus the normal basic things like pencils, paper, binders, notebooks,” she said.
Rebecca Johnson says she’s noticed that the school year costs rise as her children get older.
“I have an older daughter in high school, and she had to have scrubs for cosmetology class,” Johnson said. “So that’s another expense that you have, and it adds up. I have three children all together so it really adds up when you’re buying for all of those supplies that are requested.”
Along with being a mom to her three children, Johnson also teaches sixth-grade social studies at Rogersville Middle School.
“As a teacher, it gives me leeway to provide my students with things, supplies that they need that their parents may not be able to provide for them, understandably,” Johnson said.
The president of the Hawkins Co. Education Association, Quinn Kersey, echoed that sentiment.
“We need that saving,” Kersey said. Kersey also teaches sixth-grade math at Rogersville Middle. “It might offset some costs on pencils, paper, notebooks and backpacks. It also saves money for our teachers because that’s money that doesn’t come out of their pocket that they’re spending on their students in a normal year. Teachers don’t get a lot of things that they want. You might want to decorate your room or [buy] sanitizing hand wipes. During COVID, we were given those types of things to keep our rooms clean and sanitized.”
The board of education will take the matter up at their meeting Thursday night. If passed, it goes to the county commission for approval.