If you think your kids' school-supply list is getting longer, you're probably right. Cash-strapped school districts are requiring parents and often teachers to provide school supplies that now may include things like more than enough pencils for the entire class to Clorox wipes.

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The scavenger hunt has begun. At stores everywhere parents towing students hunt for what they say is an ever-growing list of school supplies.

Long gone are the days of your parents’ standard school fare: paper, pen, pencil and that familiar yellow Pee Chee. Today school supplies often include sanitizing wipes for cleaning up messes, hand sanitizer and three to four dozen pencils per child. That’s more than enough for the entire class, but the theory is no student runs out and schools avoid the cost of having an emergency stash.

Many parents say they spend $100 per child buying the items on the list before they pay for musical instrument rental, PE clothes, ASB cards, sports and activity fees. And of course, it doesn’t include the other high ticket item — school clothes.

Nationwide school districts are asking parents — as well as teachers — to make up for budget cuts by providing more school supplies, educators say. At the same time, new technological advances and other product developments also can add to the supply lists — flash drives, for instance, are now on nearly all lists.

The two most expensive times of the year are “Christmas and back-to-school,” said Ginni Steckler of Federal Way, the mother of two children in middle school and one in preschool.

She pushed a shopping cart full of bags at the Federal Way Target store earlier this week and said even though she had just spent $170 she wasn’t done shopping for supplies. Flash drives, pocket dictionaries, scientific calculators (which span a wide range of prices), colored pencils, glue sticks and pens were on her list for her two middle-school students.

For her preschooler, last year “the list was almost as long,” she said. Her youngest son goes to a private preschool and even more than public schools, parents must pick up the slack where funding lets off, she said.

It’s a familiar story, said David Phelps, spokesman for the Washington Education Association (WEA).

In many instances, districts are facing tighter budgets, he said. Whether school lists include hand sanitizers or cleaning wipes, it reflects districts’ attempts to look “for savings wherever they can find them. Increasingly, parents and other members of the community are being asked to supply more of these kinds of things.”

Teachers, too, are “dipping even deeper into their pockets to help supply odds and ends,” he added. To help, there’s the WEA Children’s Fund, where teachers can be reimbursed up to $75 if they have to dig into their pockets.”

A spokeswoman for the Seattle Council PTSA said the actual school-supply list in the Seattle School District hasn’t changed much over the past few years, but PTSAs are picking up more of the cost of school office supplies.

Some schools are trying new methods of getting school supplies.

Debbie Nelsen, principal at Seattle’s Jane Addams Elementary, said her school is asking parents to pay $30 a child for supplies, which the school will then buy.

“It’s hard to get all the stuff we need,” she said. Having teachers buy the supplies means there’s uniformity and not “10 different types of paper and different types of crayons.”

Last year, the school charged all students $25 for supplies, but this year the sixth-through-eighth-graders have a long list and will have to get them on their own, she said. “We don’t know yet if that will be a problem for parents of not,” Nelsen said.

Amy Tep of Federal Way had just completed her school shopping. “The list was longer than last year. It included Clorox wipes to wipe things down and Ziploc bags.”

Buying everything on the list cost her about $100 per child. At her 5-year-old’s school, supplies are shared. Pencils, for example, go into a community pencil bin, she said.

Where pencils are concerned, parents at Seattle’s McGilvra Elementary were surprised to find that students were required to have 48 sharpened No. 2 pencils. The rest of the list includes four red and four black ballpoint pens, three packages of Post-it notes and a “water bottle to be taken home, cleaned and refilled daily.”

Mercer Island’s Lakeridge Elementary requires its second-through-fifth graders to bring 36 Ticonderoga presharpened No. 2 pencils.

“Over the course of the year, that’s what kids use,” said Peggy Chapman, administrative assistant at the school for the past 25 years. “It’s called getting them all upfront. There was a time when we didn’t require kids to bring anything. Just show up on the first day of school,” she said.

The district’s PTA purchases the supplies from a vendor and sells the packages to parents. The vendor gives part of the profit to charity, said parent Leslie Moore, who has children in elementary and middle school.

“Parents are happy to have their school supplies purchased for them and help to support a good cause at the same time,” she said.

Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or nbartley@seattletimes.com

Seattle Times researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report.