New school year approaches

By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

August 12, 2014

DARKE COUNTY - School is just around the corner; Miami Valley Career Technology students return this week, and Bradford Exempted Village students can look forward to packing up their books starting Monday while the rest of the county will hold with tradition, returning to classes the Tuesday following the Great Darke County Fair, Aug. 26.

Excitement is in the air for some, while for others it may be more like dread, and for parents, it can be a stressful time, trying to afford new book bags, pencils, folders, notebooks and the latest gadgets that the children are asking for.

Parents who are concerned about affording necessary school supplies should talk with their child’s principal, suggested Greenville City Schools’ superintendent, Doug Fries.

“Parents can work with the principals to figure out how to cut corners,” Fries noted. “[Most schools] have open houses scheduled early in the year…There are also different programs in the community that can help with supplies, such as the United Way.”

Taking Charge America (TCA), a non-profit credit counseling agency, offered suggestions to save parents money this back-to-school season including taking stock of supplies left over from last year, such as rulers, scissors, and other items people already have at home.

Sticking to the list is important for saving money, TCA added, especially since teachers’ lists have become more extensive, and retail stores create an environment conducive to impulse purchases. Another tip was to comparison shop; Walmart will match competitors’ ads, but families can also save money by shopping the sales at various stores, TCA noted. Coupons can also be helpful in saving money on school supplies.

TCA also suggested waiting until after Labor Day, when school supply demands go down and retailers mark the prices accordingly; shopping second hand for back-to-school clothes, or going to clothing swaps, is also an idea for saving when it comes time to stock up on the necessary items to send the children back to the classroom, TCA advised.

“Include the kids in the process,” they added. “Many parents give their kids a budget for clothing and necessities. Kids who have to choose between blowing the budge on pricey items, or stretching their dollars with sensible purchases will learn a powerful lesson about the value of money.”

Parents should start now to get their children on a back-to-school schedule, providing a routine that includes plenty of rest, breakfast, and time to study and do homework in the evenings, Superintendent Fries noted.

Look for updates from each of Darke County’s schools over the next week, as The Daily Advocate helps prepare Darke County for back-to-school season.