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District’s cost-cutting efforts make a difference

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By Becky Barnes

The Hilltop is once again all abuzz.
When school is out, I miss all the hype of the school campus, but when its in, I think the traffic is the bane of my existence.
The first day of school appeared to  launch without a hitch... except for the traffic slow down on U.S. 62 West.
I must say, now that my children are already out of school, I kinda miss all the getting ready. I miss back-to-school shopping. However, I don’t miss the huge expense that was the start of the school year.
It all hit at once; school clothes, shoes, back packs, pencils, folders, fees... Oh my!
I know with everything that one had to have, including the then-rather-large fees, it cost probably $500 to get my kids in the doors.
Thankfully, the school system and board of education members have found a way to help cut those costs.
Certainly going to school still isn’t free, but it’s a lot cheaper now that supplies are furnished for elementary students and fees have been reduced at the middle and high schools.
Obviously, some parents purchased their children’s supplies ahead of time. Don’t fret, some of those can still be used at home for homework and “practice” school.
It costs the school district about $60,000 to minimize the back-to-school burden on families’ budgets, according to Andy Dotson, superintendent.
The middle school gets about $12,000 and the high school receives in the neighborhood of $20,000. Those stipends don’t eliminate the school fees for the upper grades, but it certainly lessens the hurt on an already pinched wallet.
While visiting schools on the first day Tuesday, I saw that every student had a brand new, bright yellow box of crayons on his or her desk.
When someone says they have new crayons, can you smell them in your mind? It’s very distinct, like the inside of a new car or the smell of the a new text book.
One year Crayola tried to introduce crayons that were supposed to smell like the color they were. For instance, a purple crayon had a grape-like smell. Whoever heard the like?
Crayons already have a very distinct smell. Don’t mess with it, Crayola.
Emotions run the whole gamut on the first day of school.
At Northside Tuesday morning, there were several Moms and Dads snapping pictures of the their child’s first day. One mother was standing teary-eyed outside a kindergarten door watching her little person through the 8x8 window on the door. While tears threatened to spill, she adamantly declared that she was fine.
In Mrs. Delaney’s class, one mother cheerfully danced around her son/kindergartner snapping photos like he was a celebrity and she was the Paparazzi. At one point, the little man took a less-than-Charlie-Sheen approach and said “Mom, I think you should go now!”
I had to laugh out loud as he exercised his new-found wings.
I’m not sure where he found them in those school supplies, but he certainly knew how to use them.
In the end though, Mom and Dad both got hugs before they left.