In some schools, parents buy their children’s school supplies. In other schools, children show up with empty backpacks. Katie Nave, who teaches fifth grade in Indianapolis, goes Dumpster-diving for school supplies at schools in suburban Carmel, reports the Indianapolis Star. With the help of teachers and custodians, Nave has salvaged “gallon bags of pencils, tubs of crayons, stacks of spiral notebooks and baskets of erasers,” supplementing donations by going through the trash.
“I guess I’m grateful that they don’t want it,” Nave said. “This is my first year when I’ve been able to give every single one of my kids every supply they would need during the school year.”
. . . Some items were still in their original plastic shrink-wrap. Others looked barely touched — former students’ names written on the front of empty notebooks. Even the used supplies were hardly worn: already sharpened pencils or slightly blackened erasers.
Carmel school officials say they don’t know why supplies are being thrown away. Indianapolis Superintendent Eugene White says IPS, which receives more money per student than neighboring districts, gives schools money for supplies that teachers may not know about. So what does that mean? Are principals buying themselves lavish pencil holders and refusing to pass on money to the teachers?
I once helped a school in a low-income neighborhood organize the supply closet, which was filled with miscellaneous donations and many giant tubs of paste.