School district to provide students with school supplies

WELLSVILLE — Students in the Wellsville Local School District won’t have to pay a dime for their pens, pencils, notebooks and other supplies for this year. That’s because the district will be handling the costs.

In a statement released Tuesday, the district announced it will provide all necessary school supplies for every student at Garfield Elementary, Daw Elementary and Wellsville High School for the 2018-19 school year, based on supply lists provided by teachers.

Superintendent Richard Bereschik said the decision was made at the recommendation of the district’s Safety Committee. The items will be presented to students when the new school year begins at the end of this month.

Bereschik said the district decided to handle the costs of supplies as a way to take a burden off families who would normally purchase these items this time of year.

These supplies — which included notebooks, pens and mesh backpacks to name a few — had been given out during the “Back to School Bash” in past years, but the committee decided this year to forego handing out supplies during the bash and instead pass them out on the first day of school.

“When we gave the school supplies out at the Back to School Bash, it causes a real backup and keeps the kids from getting to the activities that they want to,” Bereschik said. “So on day one at school, we are providing all materials kids need from the lists we got from teachers. Some of the high school teachers are calling in lists of things they’d like, so we’re going to take the burden off of families who want to buy school supplies that the school asks for per grade level.”

Along with school supplies, students also will be provided with a clear see-through backpack, another suggestion by the 14-member Safety Committee. Starting this school year, the only form of backpack permitted are the see-through variety, serving as one of many safety precautions the district is taking.

Bereschik said, however, families can purchase a larger backpack based on the need of the student, but it must be either clear or made of mesh.

“The Safety Committee made the decision, that’s one of the safest things that we could do, is have bookbags you can see through,” Bereschik said. “If they want to buy their own, they’re free to buy their own, but they have to be clear or they have to be a see-through mesh.”

Bereschik said he hopes to have some mesh bags available during this year’s Back to School Bash, scheduled 6-8 p.m. Aug. 16 in the rear parking lot of the high school on Bengal Boulevard. In the event of inclement weather, the bash will be relocated to the gymnasium.

The free school supplies are the latest move by the school district to help families within the district.

In October 2017, the district started offering free lunches to students in grades K-12 through the Community Eligibility Provisions program, which allows free lunches for students in poverty-hit areas. The program had only been available initially for Garfield and Daw students.

A few months later, the district forgave all debts — amounting to under $8,500 — from those students who hadn’t paid in full prior to the start of the free lunch program.

The free lunch program will return for the coming school year.