Back-to-school shopping to look different for Knox County students

Notebook with KCPS logo and color pencils scattered.

As retailers begin preparing for the back-to-school season with crayons, notebooks, and other necessities lining store shelves, the Knox County Public Schools are giving families the year off from buying basic classroom supplies.

Using federal funding, the school district will be purchasing supplies for each grade level including pencils, crayons, notebooks, folders, and other learning must haves.

“We have discussed school supply lists for a while and how the prices and items needed continue to increase annually,” said Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles.  “Now is a good time to give our families a much needed break as they recover from the financial impact of COVID-19.”

Sprinkles said that the school district will be using American Rescue Plan funds for elementary and secondary schools to purchase items that each teacher has submitted for his or her classroom.  The items will be distributed within the school and hopefully eliminate any need for families to buy additional items.

“The funding is helping us to take away the need to buy supplies this year while also examining what is requested of families in future years,” explained Sprinkles.

Sprinkles explained that this is providing the district with a close look at what is being asked of families to purchase each year.  It is also identifying consumable items needed for particular courses.  Teachers in content areas that require unique materials for their students will receive funding assistance to purchase those items.

“Our goal is no student should have to buy school supplies for the upcoming year,” Sprinkles reiterated.

Sprinkles and school district officials hope that this will be welcome news for families and teachers alike.

By purchasing the items needed for every student, and providing additional funding for specialty items needed, the burden is also reduced on classroom teachers.  Teachers often find themselves spending their own money on supplies for students who cannot afford them.

“When school resumes in August, we want to welcome our students by reducing as many barriers as possible,” said Sprinkles.