LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It’s the time of year when pencils, pens and pocket folders take center stage on parents’ shopping lists; but, this afternoon when I went to the school supplies area at Target in St. Matthews, it was almost devoid of people.
“We’re waiting on the schools and they’ve been in constant communication with us saying, ‘Hold on, we’ve got to review some things,’” explained Roz Welch, one of the store managers at Target in St. Matthews. “As soon as [the lists] are available to us, we will make them available to parents.”
That’s right, the lists are still somewhat of a mystery, but on Friday progress was made as Jefferson County Public Schools released a “fundamental supply list” to school principals.
JCPS wanted to emphasize that these lists are simply being given to principals so they can go over them with teachers and make adjustments where needed.
"It doesn't mean that a classroom doesn't need other items or additional items,” said JCPS assistant superintendent Paige Hartstern. “This is the list we are requesting from our families. This is what we think is appropriate, equitable and fair for our families."
"School supply lists can be kind of a burden if you have multiple children,” said Welch. “So hopefully the boards are looking at it in a way we can save the parents some money."
According to JCPS, that is the precise goal of the standardized list: to help parents. The school district is trying to make it so families are buying basic supplies such as pencils, stick glue and backpacks. JCPS does acknowledge that different schools and sometimes different teachers do want their students to have specific items, and that is why principals and teachers are making their additions or subtractions from the fundamental list over the next few days.
"There is an opportunity to customize a little bit on items I want to stress that too,” said Hartstern. “The next step of the process is for the teachers to identify what else do they need in order to meet the needs of the students, and then there’s a process where they go to their principal and they have that conversation. Then if they hit barriers on how do we go ahead and provide these supplies for teachers from within the school, they come to the assistant superintendents and we look at it to support. We need to make sure our teachers have exactly what they need in the classrooms.”
We posted this “fundamental supply list” to our WHAS11 Facebook page this afternoon and took at look at some of the questions our followers and viewers had for JCPS. We took those questions to our interview and tried to get some answers.
One question we have seen is what should parents do if they have already gone out and bought school supplies of lists that may have been repealed?
"We recognize that some parents are always enthusiastic about getting supplies,” Hartstern said. “We're not saying [those supplies] are not allowed in the classroom. We're saying that's not what we're asking our families to provide, so if they've already done that and they can't take them back their child would still have those supplies to use."
And of course, there is the big question of the day: How quickly can parents expect to get their lists so they can get going on their preparations?
"We appreciate that question,” said Hartstern. “Principals have received the list, the fundamental supply list. They have to customize them, or they're going to customize them. They need to get teacher input, they're working on that. We anticipate they'll be communicated to families by midweek."
At Target, Welch said she hopes everything from here goes smoothly for families, but when those lists are released she knows that everyone in her store and on her team is going to be very busy.
"School supply lists can be kind of a burden if you have multiple children,” Welch said. “So hopefully the boards are looking at it in a way we can save the parents some money."