The Anglophone East School District has standardized its school supply lists to simplify the process for parents.

Parents in Moncton are split over changes to the way they buy school supplies.

With two weeks before children across the province are scheduled to return to class, the Anglophone East School District is sending out a standardized school supply list for each grade.

"We felt that there should be some consistency there, to make it easier for parents and hopefully more affordable also," said Diane Gillis, senior education officer with the district.

The new lists received mixed reviews, however, from some parents shopping for school supplies in Moncton.
"(The) last couple of years I've just had to pay the school, this year I've got a two-page list," said Joanne Gautreau, adding she would prefer to just pay the school.

She also said the list for her child calls for more supplies than students are likely to need.

"I think some of it's ridiculous, 35 pencils for a school year, 16 scribblers, there's only 7 subjects," she said. 

Other parents welcome the change so that students in any given class don't have to pay more to suit an individual teacher.

"Everybody is the same so it's all fair across the board," said Melissa Gallacher.

The group Moncton Headstart gives out school supplies at this time of year to families who need some help.

The standardized lists are a step in the right direction, said Lorie-Ann Carson, co-ordinator of the group's parents program, noting they make it easier to keep track of who needs what.

"It has also reduced how many schools in certain grades are asking for money. That's helpful to our guests that are coming in because they can get our support," she said.

Carson said the practice of some schools to ask for money to buy supplies in bulk put some cash-strapped parents in a tough position.

Headstart can help with supplies, but it can't give out money, she said.
"Our numbers are up, and I'm thinking maybe that's why," said Carson. "People are actually able to utilize our support due to this change in the system."

Carson said in the last four days she had served 268 children, compared to a total of 650 last year over a three-week period.

"We're predicting that we're going to have higher numbers," she said.