School’s return can strain the wallet

THE first day of school is approaching and families will be digging deep into their pockets to prepare children for term one.

One Bomaderry family sending twins to their first day of school next week has spent hundreds on school supplies.

Mother of three Leanne Speer said she had stocked up on school supplies and was wary of cheaper options but has still spent over $400 on uniforms alone.

“I don’t buy designer things for them, I often look for package deals,” Ms Speer said.

“The twins are going into kindy so they don’t need a lot of stationery items yet. I’ve bought them three shirts each at $25, three jackets at $35 and the kids are forever losing hats so I’ve bought four for each at $7.50, but shoes are expensive.

“I buy shoes regularly throughout the year because they are growing so quickly now.

“My oldest is going into year 4. I would say I’ve spent an extra $120 on him and I will also be paying the voluntary school fees of about $50,” she said.

Although public schools offer free education, the cost of preparing children for day-to-day studies is expensive.

Public schools depend on voluntary contributions from families to cover the cost of and maintain curriculums such as art, performing arts, excursions and after school care, to name a few.

According to a study which calculated voluntary contributions to local schools, the NSW Board of Studies 2012 found Nowra High School received the most voluntary funds totalling $85,878 which works out at $82 per student.

Bomaderry High School received a total of $63,735 at $72 per student, yet second last on the list was Bomaderry Public which received just $744 at $3 per student.

According to the St Vincent de Paul society, thousands of disadvantaged families will be forced to make difficult decisions between providing basic needs for their children with school supplies.

The organisation has partnered with Nowra’s Best & Less for a Shop for Good initiative which lends a hand to families across the country struggling to keep up with back to school costs.

Best & Less store manager Jason Wilson said over $2000 had been raised by selling cardboard shirt tokens for $2 each, which will help clothe disadvantaged children.

“The response we received in the first week was fantastic and we are continuing this until February 2,” Mr Wilson said.

“We sold over 600 shirts in the first week. It’s great to see the support of the local community.”

Local voluntary funds:

Nowra High School: Total $85,878 ($82 per student).

Bomaderry High School: $63,735 ($72 per student).

Terara Public: $5340 ($65 per student).

Nowra Hill Public: $6864 ($64 per student).

Shoalhaven High School: $32,627 ($44 per student).

Greenwell Point Public: $1816 ($34 per student).

Berry Public: $7646 ($34 per student).

St Georges Basin Public: $10,483 ($25 per student).

Tomerong Public: $1315 ($11 per student).

Nowra Public: $5075 ($8 per student).

Bomaderry Public: $744 ($3 per student).

Shoalhaven Heads Public: $310 ($2 per 

student).

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