Each year, parents make the trek to stores for their children's school supplies -- notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, soap, tissue and in some cases, even tennis balls.
The standard supply list hasn't changed much over the years. Teachers still ask that parents supply paper, notebooks, rulers and crayons.
It's a ritual at the start of the school year, which begins today in Edgefield and Lincoln counties. Classes begin Thursday in Aiken County, Aug. 19 in Richmond County and Aug. 23 in Columbia County.
Schools also ask for donations of other items students might need, such as anti-bacterial hand soap, paper towels, tissues and old tennis balls. Schools slit the balls open and attach them to the legs of chairs and desks to cut down on noise.
"Some things are very easy. You know to buy a 4-ounce bottle of glue. You can get that at the grocery story," said Brigitte Makekau, whose children attend Martinez Elementary School in Columbia County. "But there's always one or two things that throw you for a loop."
Chain retailers like Target are having products transferred from other areas to ensure they don't run out of supplies.
And the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Deans Bridge Road ordered more loose-leaf notebook paper after selling out.
While some parents brave crowded store aisles, others have found a more convenient way to shop. For example, Martinez and Stevens Creek elementary schools in Columbia County order school supplies and package them in advance to sell to parents during open house.
"It's usually very well received," said Karen Thomason, president of the parent-teacher organization at Stevens Creek Elementary.
Stevens Creek Elementary -- where packages cost from $8 to $12 -- has sold supplies for at least seven years. Martinez Elementary has done so for two years.
At Martinez Elementary, the school's PTO pays for supplies and sells packages for $10 and $15, depending on the grade level. While some supplies -- such as paper and pencils -- might need replacing during the school year, most items should last a student all year.
"I think we're offering a very competitive rate," said Mrs. Makekau, president of Martinez Elementary's PTO. "There are those who could buy it cheaper maybe if they went from store to store and bought the paper in one place and the glue in another place. But it is definitely convenient."
The Augusta Chronicle conducted a spot check Friday at the following Augusta-area stores. Prices are ranked lowest to highest:
Crayola 10-pack markers
Crayola colored pencils
Target:12-pack: 99 cents
Crayola crayons (24 count)
Staples:200 sheets: 19 cents (sale price)
Kmart:150 sheets: 50 cents
Target:200 sheets: 67 cents
Elmer's School Glue
Ten-pack of pencils
Staff Writer Melissa Hall contributed to this report.
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