No funds available for uniforms in Petersburg

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Some Petersburg parents who relied on the school system to help pay for uniforms are now looking for new options. That's because the district says no funds are available to lend a helping hand.

Parents in need say the news is hard to swallow. They're now turning to churches, friends, and family for help.

Jeannett Washington is trying to save a buck while school shopping for her two children.

"It's just tough. You try to find the cheapest thing that you can," said Washington.

On her list - school uniforms. It's a requirement for all Petersburg public school students in grades K through seven. In the past the school system would purchase uniforms for families in need. This year that won't be the case.

The school system says it doesn't have the cash. And those families who need assistance will likely have to pay for the uniform themselves. Word of the news has some parents worried.

"It's going to be a very tough situation for a lot of people especially with the economy and the job loses we have," said parent Leadis Niacaris.

Leadis has three children in the Petersburg public school system. She says the need for help is likely greater now than ever before.

"Right now we're in a serious crisis - a serious money crisis and I think every penny counts," she said.

One manager of a store that sells the uniforms says prices are less expensive than typical outfits for children and that many stores are working to keep school uniform prices low. This weekend's sales tax holiday may also help.

"We know that a lot of people don't have the money," said Patty Sanders, Maxway Store Manager.

A spokesperson for the school system says if a child shows up to school not wearing a uniform the district will work with the family in order to bring the student into compliance with the dress code.

The school system is encouraging businesses and charitable organizations to contribute financially or to purchase uniform items for donation. To do so contact the school office at 732-0510.

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