RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS)–With the National Retail Federal reporting that the average family will spend 40 percent more on school supplies than they did in 2019, local shoppers are prepared to spend more. Last year, Americans spent a record $37 billion.

Experts predict spending for the 2022-2023 academic year to be the same, but parents and other caregivers said Wednesday, August 24, 2022, that they need more help.

“Because of the pandemic, parents are barely making it, and the state of West Virginia is not raising anything, and it’s making it hard for parents to get these students in school, comfortably, like they should be,” said Melissa Wesley, a shopper at Walmart Supercenter in Beckley.

Wesley noted West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources allots $200 each fall in a shopping voucher to those who care for foster children and who receive public assistance.

“This year, I think they should have made it more or made another voucher for school supplies,” said Wesley.

She added that Heart of God Ministries in Beckley distributed school supplies to children recently.

Teachers reported they have always spent their own funds to buy supplies for their students. This year, a kindergarten teacher at Daniels Elementary School in Daniels said that budgets are tighter.

“Now that everything is so much more expensive, it’s going to be even more difficult,” said Jaclyn Adams, who was preparing her classroom for students on Wednesday. “Our utilities have gone up, our food costs have gone up, which just means we’re having less money to spend on school supplies.”

Adams said teachers also buy other supplies for their classrooms every year.

“There are supplies like papers and pencils and crayons that everybody thinks about,” said Adams. “We don’t think about a four-cube storage bin that a teacher may need to buy, to keep all of their toys for recess, stuff like that.”