Credit: Shutterstock

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is going to start charging fees once again for student supplies.

That’s because Federal COVID relief dollars, which covered the cost the past two years, have run out.

An announcement on the District 65 website notes “this funding is no longer available.”

Beginning in the upcoming 2023-24 school year, “an instructional supply fee” of $50 will be added to the annual student fees, according to a district release. Students who qualify for free lunches will still pay zero, while those on reduced price meals will pay $25.

Even though fees are being re-instituted, there will still not be any supply purchase lists for families. (Those lists were eliminated two years ago as well). The schools will provide the materials, using the fee dollars instead of the federal aid.

Student supplies were among many areas where the district used its $10.7 million dollars in COVID relief since 2020, such as buying personal protective equipment and cleaning the school buildings during the peak of the pandemic.

But with the relief money drying up (and the Feds did put a finite time limit on spending it), other programs are out of cash as well.

The district’s Academic Skills Centers, a tutoring program credited with helping many students improve their performance, also needs new funding in order to continue in 2023-24. Tutors were hired with the federal assistance.

District 65 officials have said they plan to find other sources of money to keep the tutoring.

But the other source of funding for the student supplies will be the students, or at least their families.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. Why does the school not look into re-using markers, crayons and also notebooks. Every year my son brings home so many things which he could still use the next year. Would be good for the budget and the environment, just saying.

    1. YES. Exactly this. We really don’t need to buy so many new supplies every year, and we need to make less school trash. In my family, we repair and use things until they’re used up, and certainly keep ‘expensive landfill’ items like plastic binders, plastic folders, markers (also plastic… there’s a pattern here) from year to year.

  2. Agree with you all. As a former teacher, I have seen tons of new pens, pencils, markers and such in cabinets at end of the year. One set of rulers, scissors can be used over and over. Take notebooks and rip out used paper and keep using til empty! Even many folders can be reused. Be creative people. One thing that does need to be replenished is old markers that are running out of color.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *