Cumberland Valley to provide elementary school supplies

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Midstate school district is ripping up school supply lists and buying everything for students.

For the first time in Cumberland Valley, elementary school students will get to their desks and the supplies will all be there. It’s due to changing demographics in the district, and a relief to parents.

The school supply aisles at Target in Mechanicsburg are more reflective of what recess might look like when school starts next week.

“At the moment, it’s because I have children going in every direction,” a mother of four said.

She says the stress doesn’t end at the register, which puts her out about $200.

“My teacher sent in a note,” Reese Hamilton from the Camp Hill district said, “a letter to tell us what to get.”

Districts like Camp Hill, East Pennsboro and West Shore don’t require kids buy supplies before school; they provide most items. But some teachers do send a suggested list.

“The only things on our list were plain pencils and a pencil box,” Anne Rack of Dillsburg said.

Administrators at Cumberland Valley realized even that can be too much.

“That child or group of children in a classroom that come in on the first day of school and can’t provide those supplies are then being singled out,” said Dr. Patty Hillery, CV’s assistant superintendent for elementary education.

This year, the district is supplying all 4,100 elementary school students with a full desk of supplies on day one.

“Our enrollment has changed, our demographics have changed as well,” Hillery said.

In the past few years, families living under the poverty line have gone up in CV, averaging around 20 percent in each school.

“The supply list would cost on average maybe $40 to $60 depending on the grade level, and we were able to get it at a fraction of the cost,” Hillery said. “We were able to do it without increasing our supply budget.”

CV says it’s starting with elementary schools but looking to provide supplies for middle and high schools in the future.

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