Back to School: School supplies

School supplies are an expense at the beginning of each school year. For families with more than one school age child, it can be heavy on the budget, especially when you have to buy supplies that last the whole year at one time.  This Friday through Sunday, parents will save 5 percent on school supplies and clothing thanks to the fifth annual Virginia Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.  There are limitations.  The 5 percent savings is on certain school supplies priced up to $20 and on clothing and footwear up to $100.  As stated in an article on the Virginia.gov website, “school Supply,” means an item that is commonly used by a student in a course of study.  For purposes of the sales tax holiday, the term includes, “school art supply,” “school instructional material,” and “school music supply.”  The term does not include computers or “school computer supplies,” and such items may not be purchased exempt of the tax.  “Clothing” means any article of wearing apparel and typical footwear intended to be worn on or about the human body. 

Clothing does not include sporting equipment or footwear designed primarily for athletic activity or protective use and not usually considered appropriate for everyday wear.  These items may not be purchased exempt of the tax.

According to a National Retail Federation survey, the average American family spent $548.72 on back-to school items in 2009 and expects to spend $606.40 this year.

Each school has its own supply list for each grade.   The list prepares the student for the entire year even though each list is noted that items may need to be replenished throughout the year.

You may say, “what will my child do with 48 No. 2 pencils in a year’s time or 12 glue sticks, much less than four boxes of 24 crayons,” but your teachers know something that you don’t or there would be no reason for school supply lists.  Most stores will have copies of lists for each school in there area, but some will run out.  To be prepared, the Chesterfield County School website has lists available to download or visit your home school Monday through Thursday to pick up a copy.

In earlier days, teachers had funds for providing needed supplies to fill the gap of children not having the supplies needed for their classes, but for many years, the costs have been placed on the parents.  Expect to spend anywhere from $25 to $75 on supplies alone and when your child enters high school be prepared for fees for certain classes and extracurricular costs.

A partial list from the school supply list includes binders, book bags, calculators, crayons, paper, textbooks, reference books, lunch boxes and musical instruments.

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