APS Column: Providing school supplies for Austin students

Published 7:59 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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By Andrew Adams

Executive Director of Finance and Operations

At Austin Public Schools, our mission is to Inspire, Empower, and Accelerate as we prepare our learners to make a difference in the world. One of the ways we are working to support this mission is to ensure that all students start the school year off with the supplies they need to be successful.

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Each year, the average family spends more than $100 on school supplies per student, a burden we know many families struggle with. To help with this issue, APS made the decision to move from separate school supply lists to a single-fee model for grades K-4. What this means is that, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, families will be asked to pay a single $40 school supply fee per student instead of being required to purchase their supplies separately.

This creates many benefits for our students and classroom teachers. First, we can guarantee that all students have the supplies necessary to begin the school year which in turn allows our classroom teachers to more effectively plan lessons. Second, we can ensure that supplies are consistent for all students. Third, by purchasing supplies in bulk, we can realize a significant cost savings which benefits everyone.

While this will help support all students, it does come at a cost. Last year, nearly 70% of APS families qualified for federal benefits via the Free Application for Federal Benefits, and we know that even a reduced school supply cost will still be a burden for many of our families.

In the past, the Austin community has been exceptionally generous in supporting our students, from fundraisers and events to the Lunch Tray Project and more. This year we are introducing the Accelerate Austin School Supply fundraiser to help support those families for whom purchasing school supplies is a financial burden. All money raised will go directly to providing our students with needed school supplies to help ensure they start the year off right.

Your donation will help make a huge difference in the lives of our students, and we really appreciate your assistance. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Together, we can build a stronger Austin Public Schools.