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Syracuse City School District spends $1 million on school supplies for students

Jonathan Garcia

The Syracuse City School District wants to make sure every child has enough school supplies to last them through the school year. This year, the district is buying truckloads of supplies, as well as offering cash to teachers to buy classroom supplies.

“It is our intent to make sure that every student has the opportunity to have the tools they need for learning,” said Interim Superintendent Anthony Davis. “We are excited about this. We are simply trying to help our families.”

The district will purchase $1 million worth of school supplies for every student, from pencils to glue sticks to three-ring binders. Davis said he knows some families with tight finances are finding it tough to meet the back-to-school lists needed when classes start September 7.

"I’m personally hearing these stories all over the place, where families are struggling,” he said. “But that shouldn’t impact students coming to school and having everything they need to learn."

This is the first time the district has provided supplies to this extent. School Board President Tamica Barnett said the grade-appropriate supplies will be distributed to each building, noting the need doesn’t end on the first day of school.

“At the beginning of the school year, because of all the giveaways the community holds, students are usually well off,” Barnett said. “But a couple weeks in or even still at the beginning of the school year, they’re not having the supplies they got at the community backpack giveaway. So just having the stuff in the building, while they’re there, they can take them straight to their lockers or cubbies."

The district is also allocating $250 per teacher to pay for classroom supplies. The funding is part of the American Rescue and Recovery Act dollars the district received from the federal government. Davis hopes that doesn’t limit a program like this in future years.

"I’m not going to say it’s a one-time thing. Because I think this board is committed to the needs of the families,” Davis said. “So if we find the need is there, we’ll find a way to make it happen for the community."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.