Greensboro has a long history of being unable to collect parking ticket fines and has come up with a unique way for people to pay those fines – with school supplies instead of cash.

As of a couple of months ago the city was owed over $2 million in parking fines.  So if only half of that money was turned into school supplies that would be a whale of a lot of school supplies.  And the schools would no doubt have to build a bigger warehouse, which would be an unanticipated expense and cause a lot of problems.  So it may be fortunate that because of the restrictions that can’t happen.

However, those who do have parking fines and hate the idea of paying the money to the city to spend on some project they consider wasteful, this provides a way to make sure the money is spent on something useful.

But don’t think you can scam the system by walking in with an old, slightly chewed No. 2 pencil to cover a $50 parking ticket.  The supplies have to be new and you have to show up with the school supplies and the receipts that prove that the value of the school supplies is equal to or greater than the fine.

It’s the government, so there are some other restrictions.  You can only pay with school supplies for fines issued in August and the donation must be made within 30 days of the infraction.  This special program doesn’t include fines for handicap parking violations.

All supplies collected will be donated to the Guilford Education Alliance Teacher Supply Warehouse.

Some of the suggested items are glue sticks, crayons, No. 2 pencils (new and unchewed, only), spiral notebooks, dry erase markers, pencil top erasers, loose leaf notebook paper, three-ring binders, tissues, antibacterial wipes, two-pocket folders, flash drives, color copy paper, construction paper and scissors.

Payments with school supplies will only be accepted at the Parking Office on the Upper Ground level of city hall at 300 W. Washington St.