Boxes stacked upon boxes line the walls of a hallway, packing an entire room from wall to wall at the Brownwood ISD Central Support Center. Over the course of several years, Brownwood ISD has worked on cutting costs for parents while ensuring students received superior classroom experiences. One of the ways the district has been able to help lower costs for families in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year includes a shortened school supply list. Most students will need to provide a backpack, water bottle, and supply box or bag. Some students have a handful of additional items. Other than this, supplies will be provided for the Brownwood ISD classrooms. Items like pencils, paper, pens, markers, crayons, map pencils, paper, notebooks, folders, paints, glue, and more have been purchased and will be distributed to campuses imminently.
The Brownwood Education Foundation (BEF) has partnered with BISD to fund this project. “BEF and BISD have been talking about it for several years,” said Liesa Land, BISD Deputy Superintendent, “so this year we just reached out and asked them. Parents will only be asked to send the two to three things on the school supply list. Everything else will be provided.” BISD parents have one less expense to budget for as they prepare for the fall school year. “The Foundation works to partner with BISD to positively impact our students in significant and measurable ways,” said Eric Evans, BEF Board Vice President. “We serve as a conduit for churches, organizations, and individuals to connect funds to a cause such as the school supplies. The School District is purchasing what would cost families $350,000. School supplies are an essential element for students, and no one should have to go without them. So, the Foundation stepped in to do what we can.”
Massive quantities of boxes await distribution, each campus and teacher being provided an entire year’s worth of supplies. “Expenditures like this are only possible by the generous and caring donations from the people of Brownwood willing to invest back into the community through the Brownwood Education Foundation,” Evans said. “Many people are contributing to their local church funds, which are then dispersed to the school district through the BEF.” These contributions through BEF allow for BISD to move forward into the school year without having to cut expenses elsewhere. “We would love for this to be an annual contribution, but it is only possible when the funds are available,” Evans said. “We will have to see what can happen in the future on this issue.” Meanwhile, teachers and students prepare for a new school year, ready to crack open fresh packages of paper and pencils without the concern of cost and availability. Especially because of the economic impact of Covid-19, many parents worry about the various factors involved in a new school year. The school supply project illustrates just one aspect of how Brownwood ISD proves to be a district of choice. “Parents have some relief,” Land said. “This is important to us.”