Tablet with that textbook?
Stationery-list costs for the school year vary from school to school, with senior high school students facing the biggest budget, according to a Timaru retailer.
It is not just stationery which bumps up the cost for some senior students; they are also expected to buy $100 graphics calculators and, in many instances, electronic notebooks or tablets.
Some primary school pupils are saddled with the requirement to front up with reams of paper, tissues and whiteboard markers for the teachers.
Warehouse Stationery head of marketing Cathy Atkins said the contentious items on lists had not changed much in the past two years but it could get pricey for families with three or four children.
Basic stationery lists varied from $40 to about $70 per primary school child, depending on what year they were in.
Textbooks, which were often only available from the school's office, were an extra cost.
Ms Atkins said it was a busy time as parents prepared for the start of the term.
Year 7 and 8 pupils at some schools were encouraged to bring their own tablets from home but Ms Atkins said there was a big difference between the cheapest and moderate-priced electronics.
"We actively encourage parents to ask what they will be used for so a child is not disadvantaged and the parents need only spend what they need.
"The use of tablets for learning at school is growing at a very fast rate," she said.
Mother of three Jenni Kerr said it was quite an expensive mission to organise stationery requirements when all her offspring were at school.
The two eldest have since left and she only has to deal with the youngest, who is at Bluestone School, where stationery packs were available for $30 each.
"It takes the hassle out it," she said.
- The Timaru Herald