Program rolled out to ease burden on families for school supplies

  • Officials pose with keiki during the roll-out of the school supply subsidy pilot program at Na‘alehu Elementary School. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Monday marked the official roll-out of the school supply subsidy pilot program, designed to cover the cost of supplies for all schools within the state that meet the financial qualifications.

The event took place at Naalehu Elementary School, the first to receive the subsidy, which has been trying to establish a school supply program for the past four years.


“I am extremely excited to see this one-year school supply subsidy pilot program finally come to fruition,” said state Sen. Dru Kanuha, who attended the event. “Through discussions with ohana and teachers throughout my district, I am keenly aware of the difficulty many parents have in affording required school supplies, as well as the cost burden many of our teachers assume to purchase extra supplies for ohana that can’t afford it themselves.”

The pilot program was established by Senate Bill 2893, which provides the one-year subsidy to all schools composed entirely of students eligible for participation in Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Title 1, Part A schools are identified as those with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families, with the classification intending to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards.

Based on school supply lists for the 2021-22 school year, grade one at Naalehu will receive $4,451.58; grade two: $1,605.86; grade three: $3,646.08; grade four: $5,186.94; grade five: $4,913.63; grade six: $3,969.

“What started as an effort to offset costs on families in Na‘alehu has become a statewide endeavor,” said Kanuha. “Today, we take a huge step towards ensuring every keiki has the supplies they need to succeed.”

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