Some central Alabama school districts making sure students get free classroom supplies this year

Local News

WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Some central Alabama school districts are using funds to pay for classroom supplies this upcoming year, easing the burden for many families and teachers.

Walker County Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Dennis Willingham recently announced the school board approved plans to use federal COVID-19 relief money on items needed by students.

“Pencils, to notebooks, to binders, anything that we needed for the students. Parents are only purchasing backpacks and of course a lunch box, if a student brings their lunch, ” said Rhonda Davidson, the principal of Sumiton Elementary School.

While parents may be able to avoid the trouble and expenses that come with a back-to-school shopping trip, teachers will also benefit.

“Over the years, I don’t know, I have spent maybe $200 to $500 on my classroom a year because we have to have markers, we have to have crayons, and we have to replace those things if they are broken. If there are not enough of them,” said Meredith Harris, a teacher of more than 20 years in the district.

Harris is thankful she will save a little money this year and said she’ll likely put some towards other needs

“Now we don’t have to spend our money on supplies, we can spend it on other necessities we may need in the classroom, so we always are spending our money on school supplies or classroom supplies, just to make sure that our students are learning the best they can,” Harris said.

Walker County is not the only school district that has agreed to cover the costs of most school supplies. The Etowah County Board of Education made a similar move earlier this month. Educators hope it will be a boost during challenging times.

“Our parents can spend that on other things that they need, as you know, covid was a hardship on a lot of our families and so that money will be greatly appreciated,” said Davidson.

So far, the Etowah County Board of Education and Walker County Board of Education are the only two school districts in the Birmingham area that have announced plans to pay for supplies.

Other districts could opt to approve similar measures at upcoming meetings.

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