CompuCom Donates School Supplies to U.S. and Canadian Communities

CompuCom Systems, an IT outsourcing specialist, announced that its campaign, "Supply the Mind, Put Students First," has led to the donation of approximately 225,000 individual-use school supplies from pencils and pens to art supplies and backpacks as donations for local schools.

Get Your Discount School Supply Coupon Here


"CompuCom believes that quality education is critical to the futures of both our community and our company," said Tim Shea, Senior VP, Human Resources and Corporate Development. "The success of our 'Supply the Mind' community program is a direct result of support and involvement. This is our kickoff year and we look forward to it becoming an annual campaign."

Throughout the summer, CompuCom said its associates raised funds through bake sales and raffles and brought donated school supplies to work. Collected items were donated to local school districts nearby each CompuCom office and included most of CompuCom's locations, including Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; Tewksbury, MA; Bloomington, MN; Calgary, AB; Mississauga, ON; Scarborough, ON; and Montreal, QC.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))

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Longtime champion for students, families in need is honored

Palmer was nominated by her friend, Joanne Whitcomb, who described Palmer as a compassionate woman who helps students and families in need.

"What she does is she kind of gives those of us who sit back an opportunity to contribute because she'll organize and get everybody together and take the lead in getting things done," Whitcomb said.

Palmer acknowledges her talent for recruiting volunteers from her Oro Valley community.

"I round up anybody on the street. We have a wonderful neighborhood in Vistoso and friends that are supportive," she said. "This is just me and my husband rounding up everyone we know and encouraging and motivating and intimidating, if need be. Some people need a little boost to give back. I guess that's where I come in."

Earlier this month, Palmer hosted her fourth annual Backpack BBQ. It is an event she started in her home as a community service project for fellow members of the Southern Arizona Corvette Club. It now has grown so large they gather at a local restaurant.

Palmer invites family, friends and neighbors to share a meal and bring donations for students -- including backpacks, clothing and school supplies.

"We just thought they needed to do something besides get together and eat," Palmer said of the car club enthusiasts. "Most of them are grandparents and don't have any children at home and really had a great time shopping for school supplies for probably the first time in 20 to 30 years."

At the first Backpack BBQ in 2006, the group provided supplies for 30 students at Van Buskirk Elementary School in Tucson. A year later, they stuffed 70 backpacks for students at Desert Winds Elementary in Marana. Last year, the group donated 175 backpacks to Roadrunner Elementary in Marana and gave supplies to a special-education classroom at Cross Middle School in the Amphitheater district. In 2007, they began donating extra supplies, plus clothing.

The recipients of this year's 143 backpacks are students at Coronado K-8 School in Catalina and the special-education class at Cross Middle School. Palmer, who was belled in the middle school's lobby, also gifted the teacher with classroom necessities, including tissues, paper towels and hand sanitizer, and grocery cards to teach the students shopping skills and movie passes for outings.

"Bless the teachers' hearts, if they can't use it or if their children have enough, they just pass them around the school," Palmer said.

At the Backpack BBQs, Palmer raffles and auctions off restaurant certificates and other donations, then uses the proceeds as seed money for next year's supplies and to buy extras for the schools. This year, she bought graphing calculators and tri- fold presentation boards for math and science students at Coronado.

"Pat is always on the lookout for school supplies throughout the year," Whitcomb wrote in her nomination. "Many of her donors are following her lead and doing the same thing."

Palmer even shops for bargains while vacationing with her husband in their recreational vehicle. In addition to school supplies, she hunts for items to put into gift baskets she makes as birthday gifts for girls in the foster system and for teen mothers, Whitcomb said.

Palmer knows what teens need. She is the mother of two children, and she and her husband, Ron, were foster parents to 22 teens and opened their home to 34 foreign-exchange students over the years.

She was a volunteer bailiff in the juvenile court when she first realized the need for foster homes and began taking in teens. She was gratified recently when one of her foster daughters, now grown and moved out, called to thank Palmer for introducing her to community service. "It's just been a life full of children, kids at home for 46 years," said Palmer, whose mother also took in children and helped families in need.

Once the school supplies are distributed, Palmer organizes the holiday adopt-a-family program for the nonprofit Aviva Children's Services in Tucson, doing the shopping and wrapping for companies and groups that want to contribute money to provide Christmas gifts for children in need.

"We couldn't do it alone. The support is from the community," Palmer said. "It's something that doesn't cost a lot of money. For $25, you can fill a backpack with school supplies that will really make a difference."

The project

The Ben's Bells Project began in March 2003, one year after Ben Mare Packard died of croup, just before his third birthday. His family hopes it reminds people to be kind, to help ease one another's pain. The latest phase of the project began in September 2005, weekly "bellings" for those among us who make our community a better, kinder place to live.

If you know people who deserve a bell, go to www.bensbells.org/Nominate.html to nominate them. To learn more about the project, and find out how you can make bells, go to www.bensbells.org or call 628-2829.

Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at kmatas@azstarnet.com or at 573-4191.

Credit: The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

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Homelessness adds to students' hurdles and schools' burdens

In a cramped room with cinder-block walls, a linoleum floor, two bunk beds, a single dresser and a crib in the center of it all, 14-year-old Daniel King sat on the bottom of one bunk, leaning over a pre-algebra workbook.

It's the same room he has done homework in every night since school started -- in a homeless shelter where he lives with four other family members.

In the shelter, it's nearly impossible to bring friends over to study or play. And privacy? Forget it. Daniel can barely leave his room without supervision.

Still, he is determined to get straight A's in eighth grade this year. He insists he can -- even though his chances to study at a desk, much less a home, are remote.

In North Carolina, slightly more than 1 percent of all children in public schools, or about 17,000 students, were homeless at the end of the 2007-08 school year. School officials said that number is more than likely doubled now as the recession has made already unstable living conditions worse.

The state's unemployment rate is higher than the national average, and many of the jobless are having trouble holding on to their homes. Foreclosure filings are up across the state but particularly so in urban areas such as Durham and Wake counties.

Daniel's mom, Jennifer Hunt, 34, was a single parent in Michigan who worked as a medical assistant for years. She moved to Durham three years ago with $700 and enough money to rent a car. She thought she'd find a job right away but didn't. She remarried and had her third child less than a year ago.

The family survives on Medicaid, food stamps and the benefits Hunt receives after the death of her first husband. Her husband, Garrett Hunt, 59, is waiting for disability benefits. The family of five has bounced from shelter to hotel room and back as they wait for public-housing assistance.

"Sure, it would be nice to be in the same place," said Daniel, who wants to be either a doctor or cartoonist someday. "But I mean, I can't change where I am, and I don't mind it too much."

An obstacle to education

Daniel gets A's and B's in school, but he would be considered an exception, a triumph over adversity, by advocates for children who say that the instability that comes with homelessness can jeopardize education. Children who move often have a higher risk of dropping out, despite a federal mandate that says school districts must provide special services to homeless students.

"It can turn everything upside down for a child," said Barbara Duffield, policy director for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. "This is where we see mental-health issues, kids not getting enough to eat and those who are losing attachments to people and places, especially school."

The McKinney-Vento Act, passed in 2001 as part of federal No Child Left Behind standards, requires every school district to have a liaison for homeless students, including those who are living in hotels and cars as well as the homes of relatives or friends.

The law states that homeless children must be provided with transportation and can stay in their school of origin -- even if they've had to move outside that school's area to find shelter.

"Even if everything else is falling apart, we want to at least maintain stability in the school environment," Duffield said.

Increasing numbers of students who qualify -- and advocates said numbers are underreported because many people do not realize they meet the definition -- mean an extra financial strain for budget-strapped school systems that must finance almost all support services on their own.

Daniel and his sister, Samantha Narrin, 12, were among 417 students from homeless families in Durham Public Schools in June, up from the previous year. Schools are only just re-starting their homeless schoolchildren counts, but most said they're seeing higher numbers. Numbers rise throughout the school year with a spike around the holidays. Once a student is recognized as homeless, he or she can receive services for the entire school year.

Current national data are not available, but the number of homeless schoolchildren nationwide may have risen by as much as 80 percent to 100 percent in the past two years to over a million, Duffield said.

Schools help homeless students with school supplies, personal hygiene products and bus passes so parents can attend teacher conferences, said Jerene Joseph, a social worker who works with homeless students in Durham Public Schools.

In a meeting with Durham school officials last month, community leaders expressed concern over the often-overlooked students.

"We do what we can to provide what the child needs," Joseph said. But first they have to find and keep track of the children. That can be difficult because families must either self-report, or a teacher must tell social workers. And a family's living situation can change rapidly.

School homeless liaisons travel in and outside of their counties to visit hotels and shelters to make sure students have the supplies they need. Melissa Brisbon-Obame, the homeless liaison for Wake County schools, said the district will accommodate any situation. If a family is living in a car, the school district will arrange for a bus to meet students at an agreed-upon spot.

The real challenge, she said, is getting these families to come forward.

"Unfortunately, there's a stigma attached here, and families don't want to be identified," said Brisbon-Obame, who said the school district puts up posters advertising services in bus stations where homeless families might notice. "It's much easier to connect with a homeless shelter."

At the Salvation Army's shelter in Raleigh, more than half of the 50 occupants are children, said director Christine Long. The waiting list of families who need shelter housing has grown from 20 to 30 three years ago to more than 80. Long said she has seen more families with parents who have college degrees needing a place to stay.

At Urban Ministries of Durham, the shelter where Daniel and Samantha live with their mother, stepfather and 10-month-old sister, Hadassah, there's room for nine families who can stay for 90 days. The shelter doesn't keep a waiting list, but family and housing case manager Mandy Sackreiter said lately she's turning away three to five families a day.

For the kids who do live in the shelter, Sackreiter said, life can be tough.

"It's really hard to live in a place where there are other people's rules," she said.

For Daniel, living in the shelter has been just OK. The family has had to switch rooms twice -- once because of ants. Daniel said he makes many friends, but then they move out. For a 14-year-old, it's no fun to have to be accompanied by a family member just to walk from the family's room to the shelter's courtyard to play basketball or ride a bike a few feet away.

"When you're raising kids, you want them to be in a good environment," said Hunt, Daniel's mother, who said she has been waiting for public housing since February. "But you also learn, and Daniel has learned, that you can make where you're staying home. It has its highs and lows, but what place doesn't?"

Daniel agreed. Still, as much as he loves his friends and teachers at Carrington Middle School, he doesn't tell many people there where he lives.

"I guess it's a little embarrassing," he said. "But if they asked, I would be honest and tell them."

The daily routine

Daniel and Samantha get up at 5:30 a.m. every day so they can get dressed in one of a handful of sets of clothes stacked on top of a bunk bed and maybe grab a bowl of Cap'n Crunch to eat before catching their bus at 6:30 a.m. to Carrington, eight miles away.

Mornings can be hard. The kids miss the shelter-wide breakfast at 8 a.m., and sometimes they miss free breakfast at the schools, too, because the bus will arrive too late. Hunt said she tries to keep snacks in the shared kitchen.

But it has been hard to stay healthy. Daniel has had to miss four days of school for illness already this year. He weighs about 266 pounds and says he gets teased sometimes.

"I am trying to get in shape," said Daniel, who loves basketball but wants to try out for the football team because of his size. "I don't really care what people think of me, but I know everyone talks about the obesity problem, and I want to be healthy."

Food stamps, Hunt said, are in short supply, and the limited funds don't cover the costs of many healthy foods. It's hard for Hunt to get to a grocery store. Instead, she handed Daniel and Samantha two Cokes and bags of potato chips from a convenience store as an after-school snack.

Daniel often speaks of his favorite teachers and classes like math and science at Carrington. He talks about friends at the lunch table.

"I don't care about being popular," he said. "If I have to do nothing schoolwork-wise to be popular, then forget it."

Daniel talks almost nonstop. He can't help it. His brown eyes widen, his hands and feet fidget, and then he just has to interrupt his mother to tell another animated story about something one of his teachers said.

He's a good kid, Hunt said, as Daniel picked up his baby sister, twirled her around and planted two big kisses on her cheeks.

Though it's four years away, Daniel has his sights on graduating high school -- and beyond.

"I want to go to UNC," he said, before pulling out his oversized, spiraled sketchbook. The pad is filled with drawings of athletes and pictures of his family in front of picturesque houses.

Stories in a looseleaf notebook feature characters like "Dillon," who is very similar to Daniel but lives in one big house with his family.

Daniel has never lived in a home like the ones he draws and writes about.

The family must leave the shelter at the end of November.

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Education Notes

Help out teachers by donating supplies

You can help offset the high cost of school supplies, which many teachers pay for out of their own pockets.

Tucson Values Teachers, a regional initiative to make local salaries nationally competitive within five years, has teamed up with Walgreens drugstores in Pima County and Sierra Vista for the Tucson Supplies Teachers program.

Through Oct. 16, the stores will host collection boxes for items such as notebooks, pencils and crayons.

Executive Director Jacquelyn Jackson estimates that teachers spend $500 to $1,000 annually for basic classroom supplies, a news release says. "Now, factor that into being underpaid already. It's a sad situation that we hope the Tucson Supplies Teachers program can help fix."

Find a list of participating drugstores at www. tucsonvaluesteachers.org.

Five schools in the Tucson Unified School District already have received some help with school supplies.

Citigroup employees donated more than 12,000 new school supply items to Schumaker, Banks, Reynolds and Duffy elementary schools, as well as to Lawrence Intermediate School.

Youth forum focuses on community issues

If you're between the ages of 13 and 24, and you want to talk about community issues, come to the community gathering Oct. 8 at the Rialto Theatre.

Every Voice in Action, a private foundation, will host the forum. The foundation is a youth-adult partnership that encourages youth activism. The forum will include a screening of youth-produced short videos, including a documentary asking youths about common issues and concerns.

The evening also will include conversations with City Councilwoman Regina Romero and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias about current issues.

The free event will be held at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Oct. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m.

For more information, contact Judith Anderson, Every Voice in Action Foundation, at 1-520-615-2100 or e-mail judith@everyvoicefoundation. org.

Wind drives generator built by Kino student

Students and teachers at Kino School hoisted a student-built wind-powered generator onto the roof of the school in early September.

In a moderate wind, it generates more than 12 volts and up to 700 watts of electricity.

Ethan Nichols, who graduated from Kino School in May and is now attending the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Phoenix, built the generator as his senior project, working through the summer with the school's shop teacher to construct the roof mounting.

Every senior at the north-side school must complete a senior project.

Other projects have included building a water-harvesting system for gardens on the property, creating art portfolios or choreographing a dance performance.

The generator, which cost about $700 in supplies, is being donated to the school.

The school is contemplating using it to power its new greenhouse or to charge the batteries for other student inventions, such as battery-powered vehicles.

Howenstine Magnet gets $22K in grants

Howenstine High Magnet School has received two grants from the Arizona Department of Education totaling $22,500.

The grants encourage "service learning," which links academic content to the development of civic skills.

The school, at 555 S. Tucson Blvd., is starting to plan for the year's activities.

Among them: planting a community garden, launching a pet food drive, designing mosaic benches for public art, visiting hospitals and increasing recycling efforts.

Credit: The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

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Teachers can win $5,500 in supplies

Catalogs.com, and Nasco (www.eNasco.com)have teamed up to launch the 2009 "Tools for Teaching" contest.

U.S. public, elementary, middle and high school teachers may enter at the Catalogs.com Web site through Sept. 30.

In 400 words or less, teachers must answer the question: "Why does your class deserve to win a gift certificate from eNasco.com and how will you put the school supplies to good use?"

Five winners will receive eNasco.com gift certificates for school supplies.

The grand prize winner will receive $2,500; $1,500 will be awarded for second place; and three runners-up will receive $500 each.

Entries will be judged by representatives of Catalogs.com on persuasiveness, creativity, clarity and demonstration of need. Additional rules and regulations are at www.catalogs.com/teachers.

Winners will be notified by October 30.

"I'm glad we can provide much-needed relief for purchasing school supplies," said Catalogs.com co-founder Leslie Linevsky. "We also hope this contest inspires other small and mid-sized businesses to do what they can to support public education."

Credit: From staff reports

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Verizon Employees in Florida Donate $18,750 Worth of School Supplies to Assist Area Schools

Verizon employees at company work locations across Florida collected $18,750 worth of school supplies to donate to 18 schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the state as part of a recent Tools for School drive.

More than 500 Verizon locations throughout the country took part in the three-week campaign to collect new pens and pencils, rulers, crayons, and other items children need to start the school year.

In addition to those items, Verizon employees also purchased more than 1,800 backpacks for students at schools and organizations in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. The backpacks will be distributed by the Pinellas Education Foundation and Teaching Tools for Hillsborough Schools, which is run by the Hillsborough Education Foundation. Among the schools that received the backpacks are Pinellas Park High School in Largo, and Bay Point Middle School, Gibbs High School and Northeast High School in St. Petersburg.

In all, employees donated more than $500,000 worth of supplies to more than 400 schools and nonprofits across the U.S., with a specific focus on schools with a large population of students from low-income families. A complete list of organizations receiving the donations can be found at: http://foundation.verizon.com/toolsforschool/docs/TFS2009_Beneficiaries_Final.pdf.

"Verizon has a long history of supporting education," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon president - Southeast region. "Whether it's by providing free interactive educational resources for parents and teachers through Verizon Thinkfinity.org or by volunteering to assist an after-school program, Verizon will continue to support efforts to provide the tools children need to succeed in the classroom."

Verizon Thinkfinity.org contains thousands of free educational resources including interactive games, videos and activities that make learning fun. Lesson plans, in-class activities and homework help can be found quickly and searched by grade level, key word or subject.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 87 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

VERIZON'S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon's News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

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Innovest Systems Supports Low-Income Children with Backpacks and School Supplies

Innovest Systems, a financial technology firm specializing in trust accounting and wealth management solutions, today announced that it is proud to have participated in Operation Backpack, a program sponsored by Volunteers of America - Greater New York. Innovest donated backpacks full of school supplies for kindergarten children, many living in shelters in the Greater New York community. In addition to donating the supplies, Innovest's employees filled the backpacks with all the materials the children need to start their school year.

William Thomas, chief executive officer of Innovest Systems, said, "At a time when economic conditions are so tough, Innovest is very pleased to help these disadvantaged schoolchildren be successful in school. With unemployment approaching 10%, and school supplies more expensive this year than last, too many kids are starting school without the supplies they need. The Innovest staff and I are grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to such an important cause."

Nearly 11,000 school-age children live with their families in New York City homeless shelters. Volunteers of America provides life-changing services to more than 45,000 men, women and children every year by empowering them to live safe, healthy, independent and productive lives. Through Operation Backpack, Volunteers of America helps children that would otherwise return to school in September without the basic school supplies they need to succeed. This year, with more than 90 community partners and hundreds of individuals participating, Volunteers of America gave nearly 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to children in need.

For more information on Operation Backpack, please contact Volunteers of America's Rachel Weinstein at 212-496-4305, or visit www.voa-gny.org.

About Innovest Systems

Innovest Systems is a financial technology firm that provides technology-driven solutions to trust and wealth management companies. With tens of trillions of dollars worth of assets transferring between generations over the coming decades, Innovest's flagship product, InnoTrust, is designed to deliver a secure, integrated, real-time system offered in an Application Service Provider (ASP) environment. Innovest's technology is designed to meet the needs of smaller independent trust and wealth management companies, as well as the world's largest global financial services firms. Innovest is headquartered in the financial district of New York City. For more information about Innovest Systems, visit www.innovestsystems.com.

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Value teachers by donating to supply drive

The Tucson Values Teachers organization seeks to help local teachers in practical ways. That is one reason its latest effort -- a school-supply drive -- has great potential.

The organization, which aims to assist teachers as a way to improve education across the board, is partnering with Walgreens stores throughout Pima County, as well as in Sierra Vista, to put on the "Tucson Supplies Teachers" effort.

Walgreens stores will be home to collection boxes through Oct. 16. Donations of school supplies, such as pencils, paper and crayons, are encouraged. The supplies will be distributed to local classrooms.

As almost any teacher will confirm, teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies to make sure that kids who come to school without the necessities have what they need. Massive budget cuts from the state have prompted schools to slash money for supplies, so teachers are digging into their own wallets to make sure students have the tools necessary for learning.

It's typical for teachers to send home supply-request lists at the beginning of the year -- what is not so typical is that schools are asking for the basics: tissues, toilet paper, pencils.

An inability or unwillingness to equip teachers with what they need to do their jobs doesn't simply make life more difficult for individual educators. It also sends a loud message that it's OK to shortchange Arizona kids because we know that when it comes down to it, teachers will reach into their own pockets.

Tucson Values Teachers is pointing out the shortsightedness of this approach through its "Tucson Supplies Teachers" campaign.

More than 300 people gathered at the Tucson Convention Center for the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 2009 State of Education Luncheon on Tuesday. The group heard from educators about the challenges facing local schools and how they're innovating new ways to teach kids.

The fact remains, however, that no matter how imaginative a teacher might be, it takes, as Tucson Values Teachers Executive Director Jacquelyn Jackson told the group, "a good environment -- enough room, enough school supplies."

Walgreens store manager Bruce Orach said he sees a lot of teachers from the Vail Unified School District shopping at his east side store. He can tell they're shopping for a class because they look for the sales and buy basic supplies in quantity.

Every Walgreens in Tucson and Sierra Vista will accept donations, Orach said, and the supplies don't have to be purchased at Walgreens.

Tucson Values Teachers says more than 10,000 teachers -- in public district and charter schools, and in private schools, will benefit from the drive.

No one entity can give quality teachers the pay and respect they deserve, but efforts like the supply drive help let teachers know they are valued.

We urge you to contribute to the Tucson Supplies Teachers effort.

ON THE WEB: For more information on the Tucson Values Teachers organization and its "Tucson Supplies Teachers" collection drive, including drop-off locations at Walgreens drugstores, go to: www.tucsonvaluesteachers.org The classroom-supply drive runs through Oct. 16.

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Texas sales tax rebates drop despite rise in U.S. retail sales

Retail sales rose 2.7 percent nationally in August, which is the good news.

The bad news is that the people of Texas have been playing the role of tightwads -- and that's not good for communities like Waco getting their September sales tax rebates.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs says she will send Texas cities $290 million in sales tax rebates this month -- 12.2 percent less than from the same month last year.

Cities are getting less in rebates because residents are spending less money.

Waco, for example, will receive a September check for $2.01 million, a drop of 8.53 percent from the $2.19 million it received the same month last year.

Rebates in September reflect sales in July reported to Combs' office in August.

"We are seeing national trends move into Central Texas. People here are watching their pennies, just as we've seen TV reports about others doing around the country," city budget director June Skerik said.

Economists are saying the nation is pulling out of recession. Consumers obviously remain cautious, though the Commerce Department on Tuesday reported a 2.7 increase in retail sales in August over July. The department gave most of the credit to the "cash for clunkers" promotion to sell new automobiles.

But overall, "monthly sales tax collections continue to decline as most major sectors of the (Texas) economy, including oil and gas, construction and retail trade, continue to struggle," Combs said.

Skerik said Waco budgets sales tax rebates conservatively, so it's not hurting enough to alter city services. But the city is not happy that rebates so far this year are down 1.28 percent from last year.

Sales tax rebates historically go up from year to year in Waco.

In all of McLennan County, 13 of 19 cities that receive sales tax rebates saw declines for September. Total rebates dropped 8.89 percent, from $3.05 million last September to $2.78 million this month.

Most of Waco's neighbors saw declines, including Woodway, Robinson, McGregor, Lorena, Bellmead and Hewitt. Lacy-Lakeview proved the exception, showing an 8.34 percent increase.

Skerik said sales tax rebates in October should prove interesting because they could be up or down after August's three-day sales tax holiday weekend.

Shoppers received tax breaks on clothing, as they usually do that weekend but also on school supplies for the first time.

Skerik said the big crowds that hit stores for the tax holiday may have bought additional items. The question will be whether those sales offset the loss of taxes on clothing and school supplies.

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Colorations Liquid Watercolor Paints 8 oz. - Set of 21 Discount School Supply Discount Code

Colorations Liquid Watercolor applies to paper unlike any other medium. Ready to use straight out of the bottle. It's non-toxic less expensive than food coloring and washes out of most fabrics. Colorations Liquid Watercolor mixes beautifully into secondary colors! 8 ounce bottles. The set includes 21 Colors: 10 Classic 8 Tropical Paradise plus White Silver and Gold. See Pricing Here
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Giant Jungle Animals DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Set includes elephant giraffe lion rhino and zebra. 12 - 15 long. The giraffe is 13 1/2 tall. Ages 3 years and up. Styles may vary. See Pricing Here
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Felt Shapes - 500 Pieces Discount School Supply Coupon

14 appealing shapes: circles dinosaurs flowers hearts moons ovals rectangles smiley faces squares stars suns tear drops trees and triangles. 1/3 to 1 assorted colors. See Pricing Here
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Acrylic Frame - 50 1/2 School Supplies

Display pictures to stimulate babies' curiosity. Hard birch plywood frame and clear acrylic panel. 50 1/2W x 1D x 15H. Ages 8 months and up. Ships within 7-14 days. See Pricing Here
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Alphabet Lace-Ups Discount School Supplies

Early learners will delight in this set of 26 giant lace and learn cards. Alphabet Lace-Ups are durable enough to last for generations of students. Each easy-clean plastic card measures 8 1/2 square and features appealing bright pictures of words that start with the letter to be laced. Plastic letters are 6 1/2 tall with holes to match the card they belong to. Set includes 26 rainbow colored laces each 44L. Ages 3+. See Pricing Here
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Jumbo Alphabet Beads - 260 Pieces Discount School Supply Discount Code

Each bead is a big 1/2 cube with a 1/8 hole for lacing. Includes 10 of each letter (all capital letters). See Pricing Here
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Alphabet Picture Bingo DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Set includes 72 colorful hearty plastic lowercase letters (2 of each letter of the alphabet plus extras) 8 double-sided 8 square bingo game cards and activity guide. Cards show uppercase letters on one side and pictures on the other. See Pricing Here
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Amazing Animal Paper Discount School Supply Coupon

Wonderful illustrations of popular animal patterns. 8 designs 40 sheets 8 1/2 x 11. Acid free.
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All About Me Puppet Kit - Kit of 24 Discount School Supplies

This kit contains unique materials for children to learn about themselves. Role play with finished puppets. Kit includes: 24 assorted color sewn paper puppets 2-tone hair paper strips paper clothing and accessories 16 sheets fabulous fabric paper 250 pony beads 1/2 lb. bright buttons 8 sheets of cut and fold paper 225 sticky shapes and an idea guide. See Pricing Here
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1/2 Masking Tape Set - Blue Green Red Yellow Discount School Supply Discount Code

Easy to cut or tear colored masking tape is a great medium for the art center! Decorate your classroom personalize areas organize and define areas by color or create color matching games and activities. Measures 1/2W x 60 yards. 1 roll of each color. Blue Green Red and Yellow.
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Twin Walker DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Moving along! The Twin Walker and Pedal Roller enhance coordination and balance. Go forward or backward. The Pedal Roller features two pedals and a pair of detachable balancing handrails. Experienced users can remove the handrails for more challenge. Measures 15 9/25L x 20 2/25W x 22 4/9H; each pedal measures 11 21/50L x 3 27/50W. Maximum weight: 110 lbs. The Twin Walker can hold one or two children. Builds cooperative skills! The walker allows the user(s) to control the speed and distance by how much effort is exerted. Maximum weight: 220 lbs. 26 9/50L x 19 8/9W x 28 27/50H. Each pedal measures 26L x 4W. Ages 3 years and up for both. (Ships within 7 Days) See Pricing Here
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Metal Grocery Shopping Cart - 24H Discount School Supply Coupon

Set the stage for shopping play with this metal folding shopping cart! A perfect prop to enhance your classroom's dramatic play environment. Features baby seat and a rack underneath the generously-sized basket for groceries (not included). Ages 3 years and up. 24H. See Pricing Here
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Multi-Mix Beads - 1 lb. School Supplies

Imagine the crafts that you can create with one whole pound of plastic Multi-Mix Beads. Beads can be strung for bracelets necklaces belts etc. Stringing is a wonderful activity - kids have a great time doing it and it promotes eye-hand coordination. These plastic beads are bright colorful and durable! Sizes colors and styles of beads will vary and may differ from image shown. Sizes are 1/4 to 3/4. See Pricing Here
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Breakfast and Dinner Set - 76 Pieces Discount School Supplies

A must for every busy dramatic play kitchen. Set includes 2 covered dishes 5 tall pitcher 6 full place settings (6 each: bowls forks blunt child-safe knives spoons and plates) 6 egg cups 6 eggs 6 glasses and a 21-piece tea set with a teapot 2 creamers and 6 each: saucers tea cups and teaspoons. Plates are 5 in diameter. See Pricing Here
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Bongos Discount School Supply Discount Code

Get the big sound of real bongo drums in a junior-sized pair of percussive instruments. 5 and 4 3/8 in diameter. Total width 9 3/4. See Pricing Here
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Baby Visual Rainmaker School Supplies

Children will be captivated by the sight and sound of multi-color beads cascading through color balconies inside the clear plastic cylinder. 8 long. Ages 6 months and up. See Pricing Here
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Color & Shape Bingo Discount School Supply Coupon

Each Bingo card displays eight colored basic shapes. The set includes 36 Bingo cards 9L x 6 1/2H 32 calling cards 3 square chips 1 diameter a calling mat and a reference sheet. For 3-36 players.See Pricing Here
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Do-A-Dot Brilliant Markers - Set of 6 DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

A perfect compliment to the Fluorescent Do-A-Dot and the Primary Do-A-Dot Markers. The large 2 1/2 oz. container is easy for young children or children with special needs to hold and control. A creative idea sheet is included with over 20 great projects. Dispenses washable water based non-toxic ink. See Pricing Here
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Button Bingo Discount School Supplies

Place a huge colorful button right onto your card - and it matches exactly. The activity guide is filled with activities to reinforce pre-academic skills across the curriculum. Set includes 8 cards 8 square and 64 buttons. Buttons are 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 in diameter. See Pricing Here
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Official Size Basketball Discount School Supply Discount Code

Regulation 9 1/2 ball. Ships deflated. See Pricing Here
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Colorations 8 Color Tempera Paint Cakes in Tray - Set B DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Just wet the brush and start painting in smooth opaque bright colors or use a light amount for a watercolor wash. No advance preparation no spilling no messy clean-up and no waste. Safe Non-toxic and non-washable. Colors include: Blue Burnt Siena Green Magenta Peach Red Turquoise and Violet. Cakes measure 2 1/4 x 7/8 thick. Conforms to ASTM D-4236.
See Pricing Here
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Colorations 8 Color Tempera Paint Cakes in Tray - Set A Discount School Supply Coupon

Enjoy concentrated vibrant color in a convenient package! Just wet the brush and start painting in smooth opaque bright colors or use a light amount for a watercolor wash. No preparation required no spills no messy cleanup and no waste. Excellent pick for group projects-great for mess-free storage and organization! Safe non-toxic and non-washable. Cakes measure 2 1/4 x 7/8 thick. Conforms to ASTM D-4236. See Pricing Here
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8 Seat Toddler Table Discount School Supplies

This light oak table is for children 5 to 24 months and up to 30 pounds. With it's built-in seats teaching or snack time is made easy. Seat are made of polyethylene and can be removed for easy cleaning. Seats belts are also included. Available in heights of 27 or 14. Table is 48W x 72L x 1 1/8 thick. Minor assembly required. 1 year warranty. Ships within 3 weeks. See Pricing Here
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Crayola Multicultural Crayons - Set of 8 Discount School Supply Discount Code

Multicultural Regular Crayons - Set of 8 regular 3 5/8 x 5/16. Colors with universal appeal! Shades of all the world's cultures. Beautiful! See Pricing Here
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Scratch Designs Boards - Set of all 3 DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Uncover beautiful designs! Multicolor boards with black coating have an easy-to-scratch surface. Sturdier than the competition. Boards are 6L x 5W and contain non-toxic paint. Set comes with Solid Boards Rainbow Boards and Gold & Silver Boards. Use with easy-glide stylus sold separately. See Pricing Here
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Fruit Chunky Puzzles Discount School Supply Coupon

Little hands will love putting these 9 big puzzles together. Each one presents a different theme - natural wood base chunky easy-to-hold pieces are 5/8 thick painted front and back and fit neatly into their spots on the colorful board. Puzzles have 4 - 7 pieces each and are 11 5/8 L x 8 3/8W when completed. See Pricing Here
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Mirror Tilt View School Supplies

The acrylic surface on this mirror reflects a true image making it perfect for dress-up play or self-expression. It tilts easily for different viewing positions yet the base keeps it stable. Made of long-lasting Baltic birch. 14 1/2W x 50H. (SHIPS WITHIN 14 DAYS) See Pricing Here
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Sand and Water Table - Clear Discount School Supply Discount Code

Children love sand and water play! Encourages sharing; teaches cause-and-effect. Tub lifts out for easy cleanup! 4-6 children can play at once. Mobile. Adjustable legs. 35L x 24 4/5W x 17 1/3 to 22 3/4 adjustable height. Ages 2 1/2 years and up. (Ships within 1-3 Days) See Pricing Here
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Large Tai-Chi Balance Board DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

What balance and teamwork! The Large and Small Tai-Chi Balance Boards improve balance and coordination. Children work to move the ball through the maze. Each board includes three balls and two interchangeable disks for challenging fun! Disks can be fitted on the board or used separately as a toy. The small board holds one child and measures 18 9/10Dia. Maximum weight: 132 lbs. The large board supports two children. Measures 26Dia.; maximum weight: 176 lbs. Ages 3 years and up for both boards. (Ships within 7 Days) See Pricing Here
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Transluscent ABC Beads - 260 Pieces Discount School Supply Coupon

Colorful transparent beads each with a bold black capital letter imprinted on one side. You get 10 sets of all 26 letters of the alphabet. 1/4 diameter with a 1/16 lacing hole. See Pricing Here
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4-In-A-Row School Supplies

A 3-D tic-tac-toe game. Take turns dropping discs into slots. The first to get 4 in a row wins! Assembled size 10W x 8H x 7 1/2D. See Pricing Here
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11 Angeles Baseline Chair - Canary Yellow Discount School Supplies

Manufactured by Angeles. So lightweight even kids can handle with ease! Stackable easy-to-clean chairs have a molded plastic shell and PVC legs. Leg boots reduce noise and prevent rust. 5 year guarantee. Available in 7 9 11 or 13H. Chairs are solid color.
See Pricing Here
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Shapes And Colors Floor Puzzle Discount School Supply Discount Code

Not your typical puzzle experience! This giant educational floor puzzle introduces shapes and colors in a lively illustration with adorable characters. Assemble reverse side to also reveal a huge coloring/tracing activity (crayons included). 24 large pieces are perfectly sized for small hands. 3' x 2'. Ages 3 years and up. See Pricing Here
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Adhesive Magnetic Tape DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Make perfect little magnets for your refrigerator with this adhesive magnetic strip. Add to the back of photos or postcards place on the back of art work and attach to metal. 1/2W x 10'L roll of strong magnetic tape. See Pricing Here
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9 BaseLine Chair Discount School Supply Coupon

9 BaseLine Chair. See Pricing Here
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Numbers Floor Puzzle Discount School Supplies

Not your typical puzzle experience! This giant educational floor puzzle introduces numbers 1-20 each featuring a different vivid illustration to accompany each number in the same amount. Reverse side can also be assembled to reveal a huge coloring/tracing activity (crayons included). 24 large pieces are perfectly sized for small hands. 3' x 2'. Ages 3 years and up. See Pricing Here
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11 BaseLine Chair Discount School Supply Discount Code

11 BaseLine Chair. See Pricing Here
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Castle Facade DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Manufactured by Care Play. A great way to separate special areas of your classroom each brightly colored facade can be the entrance to the Building Zone The Artist's Corner or the Book Nook. Castle - Gray/Yellow. Minimal assembly required. Measures 58L x 58W x 66H.
See Pricing Here
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Colorations 6 Color Tempera Paint Cakes in Tray - Set A Discount School Supply Coupon

Just wet the brush and start painting in smooth opaque bright colors or use a light amount for a watercolor wash. No advance preparation no spilling no messy clean-up and no waste. Safe Non-toxic and non-washable. Colors include: Black Blue Green Orange Red and Yellow. Cakes measure 2 1/4 x 7/8 thick. Conforms to ASTM D-4236. See Pricing Here
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6 Seat Toddler Table School Supplies

This light oak table is for children 5 to 24 months and up to 30 pounds. With it's built-in seats teaching or snack time is made easy. Seat are made of polyethylene and can be removed for easy cleaning. Seats belts are also included. Available in heights of 27 or 14. Table is 48W x 72L x 1 1/8 thick. Minor assembly required. 1 year warranty. Ships within 3 weeks. See Pricing Here
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Dough Rolling Pins - Set of 6 Discount School Supplies

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Colorations 6 Color JumboTempera Paint Cake Refill Discount School Supply Discount Code

Enjoy concentrated vibrant color in a convenient package! Just wet the brush and start painting in smooth opaque bright colors or use a light amount for a watercolor wash. Excellent pick for group projects - mess-free storage and organization! Safe non-toxic and non-washable. Cakes are 2 1/4 x 7/8 thick. Conforms to ASTM D-423. See Pricing Here
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Angels Rest Magnetic Write n' Wipe Board School Supplies

This magnetic write 'n wipe board with 30 magnetic letters is part of the Angels Rest Cot Activity Center. The activity boards just snap between the cots no tools required. Easy to set-up and take down for nap-time. 7-Year Total Guarantee. Ages 3+. See Pricing Here
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Colorations Paint Cup Caddy DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

Great for artists on the go! Our durable paint cup caddy holds 10 paint cups and features handles that fold flat for easy storage. 17 1/4L x 6 3/4W x 2 5/8H. See Pricing Here
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2 in 1 Toddler Kitchen Discount School Supply Coupon

The popular sink stove and refrigerator/cupboard combined into one compact kitchen at a toddler's height. Made from Baltic birch a long lasting hard plywood. 30W x 15D x 23 1/2H. Ages 2 years and up. See Pricing Here
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Infant Coordination Mirror + Balance Rail School Supplies

The wall-mounted shatterproof acrylic mirror with 42 rail will excite babies as they learn to pull up and balance. 47W x 28H. Ages 8 months and up. Ships within 7-14 days. See Pricing Here
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Balls Chunky Puzzles Discount School Supplies

Little hands will love putting these 9 big puzzles together. Each one presents a different theme - natural wood base chunky easy-to-hold pieces are 5/8 thick painted front and back and fit neatly into their spots on the colorful board. Puzzles have 4 - 7 pieces each and are 11 5/8 L x 8 3/8W when completed. See Pricing Here
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Best Value Unit Blocks - 60 Piece Starter Set Discount School Supply Discount Code


Solid ruberwood unit building blocks encourage problem solving enhance social and perception skills promote shape and size recognition and teach basic math and science skills. Smooth sanded finish. 100% safe. All blocks are based on a unit measurement of 1 1/4. This base unit measurement gives each set complete uniformity for successful architecture. We call this our Starter Set because the blocks are smaller and perfect for tabletop use! The smallest block is 1 1/4L and the largest is 2 1/2L. See Pricing Here
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angels rest Toddler Premier Cot - 5 Pack DiscountSchoolSupply. Com Coupon

For comfortable naps use this smooth continuous no-gap-at-the-ends fabric cot. Bleach-cleanable angels rest is the only cot with corner-to-corner fabric. Angeles cots are made of Sof-Tex fabric and Perma-Seam construction for no deterioration of threads. Stack up angels rest cots and they instantly become a fun activity center (#5712N). They have a 7-year complete manufacturer's guarantee and come fully assembled. Available in 4 colors: Ocean Blue Slate Blue Teal Green and Wedgewood. Each cot is 40L x 22W x 4 3/4H. Set of 5. Ships within 5 Days. See Pricing Here
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Angels Rest Premier Sof-Tex Standard Cot - 5 Pack Discount School Supply Coupon

For comfortable naps use this smooth continuous no-gap-at-the-ends fabric cot. Bleach-cleanable Angels Rest Premier Sof-Tex Cot is the only cot with corner-to-corner fabric. Angels Rest cots are made of Sof-Tex fabric and Perma-Seam construction for no deterioration of threads. Stack up Angeles Premier Sof-Tex Cots and they instantly become a fun activity center (#5712N). They have a 7-year complete manufacturer's guarantee and come fully assembled. Available in Wedgewood. Each cot is 52L x 22W x 4 3/4H. Set of 5. Ships within 7 days.
See Pricing Here
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Remnant Yarn - 5 lbs. Discount School Supplies

Remnant yarn assorted lengths textures and weights. Colors will vary but always a great value. See Pricing Here
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