Shopping for School Supplies Sours Family Budget

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Shopping for school supplies soured Amy Azcarate's weekend. The mom of four with one more on the way sometime this December said she didn't expect the school supplies to be cheap, but didn't think by buying the supplies she would send the family budget into a tailspin, either.

"I wonder what happened to the days when you could just buy what was really necessary. Now they just take what you buy, dump it into a pile, and pass it out to the students, you don't even get what you buy for your kids," Azcarate said as she peered over stacks of school supplies resting on her coffee table.

Azcarate has three children heading to school this Fall and that means she was asked to purchase items for three different shopping lists provided by Jane Long Elementary.

"Dry erase markers, grading pens," Azcarate listed items she believes won't even be used by her children. Azcarate said she budgeted between $70-80 dollars for school supplies for her school-age children, but spent double that when she checked out. Azcarate didn't even by everything on the list.

"These things added up are very expensive," she said she still needs to buy a few items on those supply lists.

Azcarate said she doesn't blame the teachers or even the school but wants the district and state to designate funds to cover expenses like school supplies for teachers rather than leaving parents or even teachers themselves to foot the bill.

"My husband works two jobs just to keep us on our feet and when we budgeted for school supplies we we're thinking $70-80 dollars." Azcarate said her family is like most families struggling in today's economy, but she said they are not ready to accept help with school supplies.

"Although we are not what you would consider middle class, we are lower income, but I know that there are people out there hurting more than us," Azcarate said.

MISD Director of Communications Woodrow Bailey said the help is out there for families who can't afford school supplies. Bailey said the district's list is basic and all the items can be purchased for less than $15 dollars. Bailey did not immediately know details about individual school supply lists on Friday.

"I feel like I am being conned into covering for a bunch of different parents that just refuse to buy their kids the things that they need," Azcarate said.