Parents feel pain of inflation during back-to-school shopping

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For tens of thousands of students, classes are already back in session.

That includes Beech Grove Schools, where Wednesday marked the first day of the new school year.

But for the vast majority of parents, they’re in the scramble of the final days of summer vacation and getting ready for back to school.

Families are doing back-to-school shopping, but, for some parents, with prices on the rise, they’re worried about paying for school supplies.

“It’s hard times right now. People are not working and it costs a lot to get supplies right now,” said Valorie Parker, an Indianapolis resident.

Valorie Parker says getting ready for the new school year hasn’t been easy. To help make sure her three kids are prepared to go back to school, she made sure to stock up on school supplies during Monday’s Indianapolis Public Schools Back to School Festival.

“Right now, the way gas is, the economy is going, it’s very good for all this going on right here today,” Parker said.

“Even though gas goes up you still go to pay for gas either way it goes, so I do try to manage it the best way I can,” said Christopher Mims, an Indianapolis resident. “So, events like this help me save money for gas because it helps out with school supplies and free books, so it does help a lot.”

According to the National Retail Federation, this year, families plan to spend $864 on average for back-to-school shopping with the largest expenses being electronics and clothes. In 2019, families planned to spend on average $697 dollars, being almost $200 less.

Christopher Mims says the impact of COVID-19 on schools has been difficult.

“She could learn a lot if she had to be at home, but if she had to go to school I’d rather prep her up right,” Mims said. “My fear was to bring COVID home on some clothing because I never felt the symptoms.”

He says he’s prepared for another school mask mandate should the schools need it to keep their doors open and keep everyone healthy.

“If it’s the rules, if it’s for our benefit, our health I don’t even worry about it. I just go through with it and just pray that everybody stays safe. That’s all,” Mims said.

“We’ve learned to sort of never say never at this point and just be ready to respond,” the superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, Aleesia Johnson, said. “Keeping the safety and the health of our students and our staff as our first priority.”

“We’re excited to kick off the start of the year. You know, I think it should feel relatively normal in terms of what our students get to experience and our staff get to experience. That said, we know we just got to always be ready for things that may change, but quite frankly over the last two years we’ve gotten pretty good at that,” Johnson said.

“I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m also hoping again because last year it was a lot,” Parker said. “Teacher shortage and everything else, so that makes you a little bit nervous.”