(NewsNation) — With inflation making the cost of school supplies a bigger burden on American parents, an Alabama town is implementing an innovative solution.
For August, authorities in Tuscaloosa, Alabama are relaunching a 2019 program that allows people with overtime parking tickets downtown — meaning they were ticketed for staying too long in a parking space – to pay for their tickets by donating school supplies.
Ticket holders can donate school supplies worth up to $10 to reimburse an overtime parking ticket worth $18. They can donate school supplies worth up to $20 to pay for two overtime parking tickets.
Tuscaloosa City Court staff will assign values to supplies. A sample list provided by the city suggests that scientific calculators would fetch $9, for example. However, anyone who wishes to dispute the value of an item is also free to bring a receipt.
After retrieving the items, court staff turn over the donated supplies to the Tuscaloosa City School Board for distribution to students in need.
Marion Williams, the municipal court administrator overseeing the program, said she was able to get 195 tickets when the program first aired that year.
She acknowledged that the program will cost the city money as they will not be able to collect revenue generated from parking tickets.
“But that’s not what it’s all about… It will not only help the students and the parents, but it will also help the offender to be able to give back, to be able to contribute and to help,” she said. declared.
Williams said that since the program began in 2019, many of the public have gone “over and above” what was asked, donating more than $10 in school supplies to have their parking ticket taken care of.
She is encouraged by the public response to previous versions of the program and expects ticket holders to participate in the program again this year. There are currently 967 overtime parking tickets in circulation.
“People always want to help. They always want to help others. And there are still people who have good hearts and that’s what it’s all about,” Williams said.