Lee County Public Schools buys back to school supplies for all K-7 students

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JONESVILLE, Va. (WJHL) – Back to school supply shopping is happening a little differently in Lee County, Virginia this year. Principals, rather than parents, are the ones getting pencils, folders, markers, and more at the store. 

“We have been able to earmark some funds this year to offset the cost of school supplies for back to school,” said Brian Austin, division superintendent for Lee County Schools.

The county chose to allocate $32,000 to provide supplies this year. The supplies will be given to about 2,000 students at eight different Lee County elementary and middle schools. 

“This is not intended to provide school supplies for the year for students,” Austin said. “But what we did is worked with our principals and of course they worked with teachers early in the spring to determine what they would need in lieu of a back to school list.”

Principals from each school have been working with the Jonesville Walmart to order what their students need. 

“We walked through, looked at each supply that I had on the list, got the prices, the quantity, and made sure we got enough for the students that do come back,” said Kellie Leonard, principal of St. Charles Elementary School.

Now kindergarten through seventh-grade parents won’t have to pay.

“Because it can get a little expensive,” Leonard said. “This year, we’re making sure [students] have everything. This burden is taken off the parents.”

It’s a burden Lee County parents like Lydia Johnson are grateful to have lifted. Though Johnson works close by the school supply aisle at the Walmart pharmacy, the county’s new initiative saves her added stress.

“I’ve got two children, and every year we do struggle to get them everything they need,” Johnson said. “So everything is going to be offered this year and it just makes it so much easier on us.”

Principals and school administrators hope that by removing the cost of supplies from Lee County families, they’ll have a little extra money to put towards other essentials like back to school clothes.

“There are so many people that are out of a job right now,” Johnson said. “This is really going to help them extensively.”

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