Why Do Our Schools Purchase Supplies for Students?

Bellingham Public Schools strive to provide a free, public education of the highest quality for all students.  Buying school supplies — in addition to the many other fees associated with school and activities — is a financial hardship for many families. Our community generously supports our levies and schools in numerous ways, and so much is already asked of parents related to fundraising and fees. Our schools will purchase the supplies students need for learning, as we do with books and other materials. Staff have worked hard to reduce expenses for families with great progress at middle and high schools.


  • Reduce the school supply financial  hardship to families as much as possible over time;
  • Eliminate waste for supplies that aren’t used by the end of the year as  well as parents’ time and gas money;  and
  • Support families in using time saved  from school supply shopping to focus  on setting learning goals for the new  school year and planning for time  and space at home for reading and homework.


School Supply Lists for 2016-17


Grades K-5:

  • School supplies provided
  • Backpacks only

Grades 6-8

  • School supplies provided
  • Students may need ASB cards and will need clothes for physical education
  • Backpacks are recommended but not required
  • No athletic pay-to-play fees

Grades 9-12

  • School supplies provided, as needed
  • No course fees
  • No testing fees except Advanced Placement (AP) tests
  • Students will need ASB cards
  • Backpacks are recommended but not required
  • No athletic pay-to-play fees



The main purpose of this initiative is to reduce expenses for families.  Therefore, we ask that families only bring the supplies requested.  Families and community organizations that want to help are encouraged to make a monetary donation to the Bellingham Public Schools Foundation in lieu of purchasing supplies for a school. This helps ensure equity for students by avoiding an abundance of supplies at one school and not enough at another.