Back to school shopping on a budget

The countdown to Tuesday, Sept. 4, the beginning of a new school year, has begun.

The countdown to Tuesday, Sept. 4, the beginning of a new school year, has begun and many parents are thinking about the dreaded school supply shopping that must be done.

Students from Palsson or A.B. Greenwell will have brought home school supply lists with their last report cards in June. For those going into the middle school, Lake Cowichan Secondary has school supply lists posted on their website at

“For the Grade 9 and 10s, supplies are more general,” says LCSS head secretary Dianne Martin. “If there is something special they need, the teachers will let them know.”

For those families who are struggling financially, the annual school supply shop can be a little challenging. And though there is no program that is specifically designed to help these families out in the Cowichan Lake area, either through the food bank or Community Services, there are some ways in which the schools, and the various Parent Advisory Councils, can help.

“The school will help to supply [these students],” says Martin. “There is a lot left in the lockers at the end of the year.” She lists new and used binders, paper, pens, and much more.

“All of this is made available in the learning resource room. If parents are having a hard time financially, they can come to the school confidentially and speak with one of the administrators to get help with supplies for their kids,” says Martin.

Martin also notes that the Bargain Shop in Lake Cowichan often has prices on school supply items that are comparable to large Duncan stores and that Island Pharmacy often has sales.

Belinda Waller, PAC chair at Palsson Elementary, says that though they do not currently have a program set up to help these families, they do try to help in other ways.

“About three years ago . . . the cost of agendas was cut from the budget and the PAC started paying [for them],” says Waller, adding that at least this is one less cost for parents.

She also mentioned that Palsson offers parents the option of purchasing school supplies through the school at the end of the school year in June for the fall semester. The cost for Kindergarten students is approximately $20, and all for all other grades it is approximately $25. A.B. Greenwell also offers this service.

For those families who have just moved into the area, it is recommended that you call the school to see if your family qualifies for this program, even though it is late in the year.

Here are a few other helpful hints for the beginning of the school year.

To find out about schools in your neighbourhood, call the district office at 250-748-0321 after Monday, Aug. 27.

Bus route schedules can be found at the district website It is recommended that families check the schedule as some routes have changed.

Full-day kindergarten will be offered at all schools in the district. Register by contacting the school before Aug. 31. However, if this is not possible, parents can register their children on opening day.

New students must register at schools between Monday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Aug. 31 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m.

All middle school and high school students will be dismissed three hours early on opening day. For new LCSS students, parents are advised to contact the school as soon as possible to make an appointment to register. Students must be registered and course assignments resolved before the first day of classes.

For more information, go to the District website