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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: More testimony on Ohio's "anti-protest" bill; and we'll take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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As School Supply Costs Mount, Wash. Credit Union Gives Back

At last year's supply drive, students were given fake money to buy school supplies. (Inspirus Credit Union)
At last year's supply drive, students were given fake money to buy school supplies. (Inspirus Credit Union)
August 24, 2018

SPOKANE, Wash. – The high cost of school supplies could be on the minds of many Washington families as students head back to class. One credit union is stepping up to help in a big way.

A Deloitte survey finds households expect to spend more than $500 going into the 2018 school year, with more than $100 going toward supplies. That's why Inspirus Credit Union is offering school material this year at Spokane's Bemiss Elementary.

Last year, the credit union's supply drive served more than 1,000 students across the state. Morgan Cole, a public relations specialist for the credit union who spearheaded the Inspirius event, says it contained a financial literacy component too, with kids getting fake money to budget on real items.

"Students are managing their money and budgeting while they're shopping,” says Cole. “So, if they buy one backpack for $5, they also need to get a pencil and a ruler and their binder so then they're probably not going to have enough money for a second backpack."

This year, Cole says kids will be given fake debit cards to add to the experience. The credit union is contributing more than $40,000 this year to school districts across the state.

Inspirus is holding a supply drive in the lead-up to its giving event on Aug. 27 at Bemiss Elementary.

Peggy Slotvig, a special education teacher at Bemiss, says parents enjoyed the budgeting aspect of last year's drive.

"It got them into that realm of doing it as a partner with their child and not just there to collect something for free,” says Slotvig. “So it put that little bit of a twist on it and they thought that was pretty neat."

But even with the drive, some students' needs still go unmet. According to a U.S. Department of Education survey, school teachers bought nearly $480 worth of school supplies without reimbursement in the 2014 school year.

The Spokane School District has helped ease this issue a bit, supplying some items itself. Kari Garza, a first-grade teacher at Bemiss, says schools and teachers still step in when they have to.

"And that's the community,” says Garza. “I mean, we rely on each other. So we'll send a shout-out, like, 'Hey, does anybody have boys' size 6 shoes?' – and we see what we can find before we have to go out and purchase them. And a lot of times, stuff will turn up."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA