BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — With school supply lists in hand, parents throughout Palm Beach County are spending these last Summer vacation days at Target and Wal-Mart, stocking up on pencils, highlighters and paper towels.
Wait, paper towels?
Palm Beach County Schools are apparently so underfunded that parents are required to send their kids to school with paper towels. Some schools even expect students to have their own reams of paper.
For parents who grew up in the highly ranked and well-funded school districts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the supply lists are truly shocking. How could a school district — let alone a school district that includes a plethora of multi-million dollar homes — not be able to supply pencils, markers and paper towels to kids? Where are the tax dollars going?
Just as importantly, why is the Palm Beach County School District not taking advantage of bulk buying and tax free status to purchase these supplies for 176,000 students, then passing on a dramatically reduced “supply fee” to parents?
Here’s a math lesson: it’s far more cost effective to buy 176,000 of an item once than to buy it once 176,000 times. This is logic apparently lost on school district leaders — as they push parents of 176,000 students to Target and Wal-Mart where supplies are purchased at retail. And we’re not evening mentioning the part about fuel use and damage to the environment.
We have asked for a response from the Palm Beach County School District, and potentially incoming Superintendent Robert Avossa. This is a problem that he inherited and did not create. We hope his educational background, work as Superintendent of Fulton County Schools in Georgia, and as the Accountability Officer for the respected Charlotte-Mecklensburg School District will lead to change — and implantation of a new policy: one where money is spent intelligently, supplies are purchased in bulk at a massive discount, and kids don’t have to bring their own paper towels to school.