Archive for Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tough economy may make school supply shopping more difficult

Fourth-grade teachers Melissa Sears, left, and Ginny Turvey struggle to assemble a palm tree decoration for Turvey’s classroom on Wednesday at Broken Arrow School. Lawrence public school students return to school next week.

Fourth-grade teachers Melissa Sears, left, and Ginny Turvey struggle to assemble a palm tree decoration for Turvey’s classroom on Wednesday at Broken Arrow School. Lawrence public school students return to school next week.

August 6, 2009, 4:40 p.m. Updated August 7, 2009, 1:29 p.m.


School supplies sales expected to drop

As the new school year approaches, the economy is taking its toll on the amount of school supplies being sold by retailers. School supplies sales are expected to drop as much as seven percent this year. Enlarge video

Next week, Lawrence public school children will be returning to school with the usual supplies. This year, however, the supplies might not be name brand and students might not get every single item on the district’s list.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2009 Back to School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, the average family with students in elementary and high school is expected to spend 7.7% less on school merchandise than last year. That’s a total of over $17 billion.

“We always believe bring what you can,” said Nancy DeGarmo, the principal at New York school. “Bring those really important things - paper, pencil, crayons. We’ll all work together to make it through this time.”

Another way to get by is just by remembering what you learned in kindergarten.

“If I don’t have scissors, I’l share my scissors with you. We’ll get by,” said DeGarmo. “I think we are all aware of the economy right now and the stress that’s put on families.”

But some local retailers are still gearing up for a big weekend, the last before classes start.

“It’s almost a holiday of sorts,” said Hy-Vee perishables manager Chris Wiltfong. “Not only is it just school supplies, but it’s school lunches, it’s after school dinners and things like that. We definitely see a change of business.”

Wiltfong said students still need supplies, but this year, they might not be brand name.

“They’re buying more of the generics or store brands, but they still have to have it,” he said. “You can’t write without a pencil.”

Julie Heatwole and her Quail Run school third grader, Mariana, were on the hunt for things on the supply list at Target on Thursday morning.

“I would say second grade actually had more supplies needed, so I’m more relieved that third grade seems to be a little less,” Heatwole said.

Mariana is ready to doodler her way through another school year and is most excited to get art supplies, maybe with a touch of Disney.

“Mostly I like Hannah Montana,” she said. “I just like all different types of arts and crafts and stuff like that.”

While Heatwole said she tried to make school supply one stop shopping, some items aren’t easy to find.

“Sometimes it happens that we have to go hunting,” she said. “We go to various places in the end.”

But it’s also a chance to spend some quality time with Mariana before she heads back to school.

“It’s actually something I look forward to doing with my daughter, just her and I,” Heatwole said.

Classes resume for all Lawrence public school students on Aug. 13.


davidsmom 8 years, 8 months ago

The State of Missouri gives a "tax holiday" for three days so families can save money on things they need for school - traditional school supplies, clothes, computers and accessories, etc. To my knowledge, the stores don't require an ID when you shop, so a lot of Kansans who live near the state line shop in Missouri. That tax holiday is this weekend, Friday through Sunday. It may not be every store in the state, but you can find the list on the State's web site.

Lori Nation 8 years, 8 months ago

We seen this on FOX news and we will be going to Missouri for school supplies, clothes and shoes. Sorry Lawrence should of thought of something like that to bring in the shoppers!!!

mdrndgtl 8 years, 8 months ago

Sad news. It's possible the well-bred, rich children will have to forgo the 128-count crayola box with built-in sharpener.

workinghard 8 years, 8 months ago

Wow, how could a reporter make such a mistake? **School starts Aug 12th not Aug 13th.* Of course I'm sure most parents are well aware of when school starts but still you are suppose to check your facts first.

LadyJ 8 years, 8 months ago

You probably wouldn't hear too many kids complain if their parents let them stay home another day. LJW needs to print a correction though.

LadyJ 8 years, 8 months ago

And drivers going through North Lawrence detour, please look out for school kids and crossing guards on the 12th not the 13th and any other day.

hail2oldku 8 years, 8 months ago

The reporter is sort of correct. School starts for everyone on the 13th. The 12th is 1-7 and 10th grades. No school for K, 8-9, 11-12.

For those driving from Lawrence to Missouri to save 8% in sales tax, how much money are you going to burn in fuel not to mention wear and tear on your vehicle in order to save a few pennies?

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Actually, the reporter is correct. Lawrence schools start for all students on August 13. Grades 8,9,11,12 do not attend school on the 12th.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

I have been watching the Sunday ads for sales on school supplies. Since the sales are at stores where I shop or drive by every day, I am not spending money driving somewhere to save a dime. Walgreens, Office Depot, Target....although Target's ads have not been as good as in years past. Still waiting for the sale on notebooks and looseleaf paper, although I did buy extra last year. I do have to admit that all of mine have been in junior high and high school the past 4 years so I didn't have to buy watercolors and crayons. but it's handy to have markers and colored pencils for high school projects.
And yes, I always buy a little extra of the great sales stuff to donate.

denak 8 years, 8 months ago

Don't we pretty much have the same article every single year.

Personally, I don't think school supplies are all that expensive especially if all you have is one or two children. Maybe if you have 5 or 6 then it kind of gets pricey but you can pretty much buy everything you need for a child for approximately 25 dollars. If you want to save even more, buy your supplies for next year the week after school. Everything goes on sale and you pick things up for pennies.


Maddy Griffin 8 years, 8 months ago

It wasn't too bad this year. We still had pencils and spiral notebooks unused from last year. Shoes and clothing are a different story.

mom_of_three 8 years, 8 months ago

Since the first few weeks of school are still pretty warm, I don't worry about school clothes or shoes until late August. But every family is different.
I look for deals on school supplies after school starts, but the things the older kids need don't get cheaper for a few weeks. But when i get filler paper for a quarter or less, I stock up if I can afford to.
Don't overlook Walgreens, either. 6 pack of Highlighters with different colors for 29 cents. Everyone in my family uses high liters.

GardenMomma 8 years, 8 months ago

I spent close to $60 for school supplies for my two kids. Add that to the $112 enrollment fee (per child), the $20 each per year book and then the cost of clothes and it gets pretty expensive.

$60+224+40=$324 plus clothes. That's a hefty chunk.

Orwell 8 years, 8 months ago

If you assume $40 transportation expense (actually a little less than the IRS's allowable mileage expense for a hundred-mile round trip) and assuming you put zero value on your time spent in extra travel, you'd come out even on the tax "savings" if you spend about $510 in Missouri. Every dollar spent above that will save you a whopping 7.85¢.

Plus you get the added benefit of knowing you've deprived your community of revenues to support schools, police & fire, etc.

Yeah. Great deal.

alm77 8 years, 8 months ago

Garden, what grade are your kids in?? I spent $9 a piece on my two for school supplies. We haven't gone clothes shopping yet. I did not buy them new backpacks this year. They like the ones they have. My daughter bought herself an American Girl backpack with her birthday money last year and I put a skateboard company logo on my son's backpack with an iron-on and some innovation last year. They aren't giving those up anytime soon.

Sigmund 8 years, 8 months ago

davidsmom (Anonymous) says… "The State of Missouri gives a “tax holiday” for three days so families can save money on things they need for school - traditional school supplies, clothes, computers and accessories, etc."

“Clothing” - any article of wearing apparel, including footwear, intended to be worn on or about the human body. The term shall include but not be limited to cloth and other material used to make school uniforms or other school clothing. Items normally sold in pairs shall not be separated to qualify for the exemption. The term shall not include watches, watchbands, jewelry, handbags, handkerchiefs, umbrellas, scarves, ties, headbands, or belt buckles.

“School supplies” - any item normally used by students in a standard classroom for educational purposes, including but not limited to, textbooks, notebooks, paper, writing instruments, crayons, art supplies, rulers, book bags, backpacks, handheld calculators, chalk, maps, and globes. The term shall not include watches, radios, CD players, headphones, sporting equipment, portable or desktop telephones, copiers or other office equipment, furniture, or fixtures. School supplies shall also include computer software having a taxable value of three hundred fifty dollars or less.

“Personal computers” - a laptop, desktop, or tower computer system which consists of a central processing unit, random access memory, a storage drive, a display monitor, and a keyboard and devices designed for use in conjunction with a personal computer, such as a disk drive, memory module, compact disk drive, daughterboard, digitalizer, microphone, modem, motherboard, mouse, multimedia speaker, printer, scanner, single-user hardware, single-user operating system, soundcard, or video card.

stuckinthemiddle 8 years, 8 months ago

the missouri tax holiday has some limitations... I think it's tax fee on the first $50 of a purchase... which I think they said will save you about six bucks...

so... by the time you spend money on gas and figure that your time is worth something, as it will take you an hour each way to drive... doesn't make much sense to me to go to missouri...

and if you look out at Walmart a lot of the school supplies and damn cheap...

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