Kent schools supply drive raises questions

The district recently came up nearly $7 million short in its budget.

A flyer on a cardboard box in Kent has a community asking, "How did we get here?"

"Nothing about this makes me happy," Christie Padilla, president of the teachers union in Kent, said.

The district recently came up nearly $7 million short in its budget.

"Some teachers called our office and reported they were out of supplies," Padilla said.

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Padilla said teachers and students are having to ration out classroom essentials.

"Kleenex, toilet paper, Band-Aids, copy paper -- they weren't allowed to make copies anymore," she said.

So, she and a team of teachers came up with an idea.

"Let's have a one-day organized drive across the district to bring in supplies into our schools."

Boxes are expected to go out near schools across the district for a drive on October 9.

Someone took a picture of one of the boxes and posted it online, and it went viral.

"I immediately started getting phone calls," she said.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the school district wrote:

“Kent School District is aware of a flyer, "Paper for Kent Students," circulated by the Kent Education Association. Our students are the top priority and providing for their needs at school with various paper supplies is one of our main custodial purchases.

"The Kent School District is not soliciting requests for donations of paper supplies from our parents or community members. Rest assured, there is budget allocated to provide essential paper supplies for our schools. We continue to provide the necessary support to our students and staff in their daily learning and teaching.”

But Padilla said based on what teachers have reported that is not the case.

"There’s a lot of frustration amongst our staff for sure. We do have great schools, we have great teachers, we have great staff, and I still
-- in spite of our difficulties -- still, believe in the Kent school district," Padilla said.