HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) – When students at Harrison School District walk through the door on their first day of school, they’ll have supplies on their desk, and they’ll be ready to start learning.
That’s because the district is providing supplies from paper, to notebooks, to pens and pencils to all their kids K-12.
“When we started crunching pricing and looking at the cost saving of buying bulk, we realized it was totally affordable for the district to do, and it would make a huge difference for all of our students and families,” said Susan Gilley, the executive director of federal programs and instructional technology for Harrison School District.
It’ll cost the district around $50,000, but school district leaders said it’s worth it.
“All families can’t afford the same type of school supplies you might list. So in this way every student is going to walk in the first day. Their desk is going to look the same, with the same crayons, the same pencils, the same paper, and all are going to be on a level playing field,” Gilley said.
They said it’s one big cost parents don’t have to worry about.
“They’ve noticed how parents are just visibly relieved when they know they’re not going to have to supply all those things for their kids,” said Debbie Wilson, the director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment for the district.
And some kids said it’s a relief for them as well.
“At least for the first week nobody will be coming up to you asking, ‘Hey can I borrow a pencil?'” said Emme Bell, who is going into seventh grade this school year.
“We’re going to give you what you need to learn, and then it’s your job to do the learning,” Wilson said. “Taking away all those barriers kids might face to learning. So we feel like that’s a super positive thing for our kids.”
Other districts like Mountain Home and Green Forest are also giving free school supplies.
“I’m really pumped,” Gilley said. “I’m really excited about it. Every kid is going to have their supplies, and you don’t have to do anything except get your kid here.”
Kids do have to bring their own backpacks.
The first day of school for the Harrison School District starts on August 14.