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Paying for things at public schools

post #1 of 209
Thread Starter 
The thread about the lost book got me thinking...why the heck do I have to send so much money to my kid's school?!?

This is my daughter's first year back to public school after a few years of homeschooling. She is entering 6th grade at the middle school.

We went to her open house yesterday and in addition to the $50 or so worth of notebooks, graph paper, etc, we are expected to provide the following:\

3 boxes of Kleenex
$5 'locker rental fee' (the kids have lockers in the hallway at this school)
$15 'supply' fee
$20 for a gym uniform
$30 lunch money for the first month of school if the kid eats school lunch

So I am supposed to send her to school Monday with $70 or 4 seperate checks!

Our real estate taxes exceeded $5000 last year. We pay $600 a month into an escrow account to cover our taxes and insurance. Not to mention, the 5 figure income tax we paid to Uncle Sam...

I think that it's ridiculous, the things that our government is willing to spend our taxes on, and then make citizens do things like buy their own crayons and have to send Kleenex to school. And 'locker rental fee'? wtf?!?

OK, that's the end of my rant. I am spending far less than I was for homeschool supplies, that's the truth. I am still : that I have to lay out all this cash.
post #2 of 209
Sorry you're upset. The fact that you pay money in property taxes does not mean that all of that money is going to your daughter's school.

Schools don't have money for supplies in large part because of the cost of running a school building. (For example, the large high school I used to work at, which was part of the Green School initiative, so we tried to conserve energy, cost close to $8 million a year to run.) That's for teacher/administrator/building service salaries, electricity, water, heating/AC, repairs, books, etc. And that's for one school.

Today, districts spend a huge chunk of their budgets on special education services, because they are federally mandated to do so. They have to retain a bevy of teachers and specialists (like speech therapists, psychologists, etc), and have to pay dearly for in-house legal counsel to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and to defend them against lawsuits.

I have also taught in a school in a middle class West Coast neighborhood that had no toilet paper or soap in the bathrooms, no hot water anywhere in the school, and no useable textbooks. (A water main break had flooded the book room and they had no money to buy more.) They were forced to make repairs to the school that met earthquake code, and couldn't afford extras. Teachers pooled together to bring in TP. Kids carried TP in their backpacks.

So, while it's possible that some school districts are wasteful with their money due to poor management, most truly struggle to make ends meet while providing children with services.

They also generally offer grants for families who can't afford things like locker fees.
post #3 of 209
Thread Starter 
I don't mean to imply that the SCHOOL or TEACHERS are wasteful with money. I am just peeved that so little of tax money that we all pay goes towards education... When there is plenty of money to fund wars and idiotic punitive prisons and on and on.

There are public school teachers among our friends and family and I know how much of their own money they end up spending on their students and classrooms. It's shameful especially considering what kind of (low) salary they earn for their education investment of 4, 6, or more years of college.
post #4 of 209
I remember when I was in school parents never had to pay for anything other than hot lunches and personal school supplies that was on a list. It's insane how much parents have to dish out now, what happens if the family is low income and they can't afford the extras?
post #5 of 209
Thread Starter 
At my daughter's middle school there were at least old used gym uniforms that you could fill out an application to borrow for the school year if you could not afford $20 for a new one. BUT...I noticed that the new ones had print of the school mascot in an aqua color on gray, and the used ones were more of a royal blue on grey. Subtle to the casual observer...but probably painfully obvious to the kids who have the used uniforms

We ordered a new one. I want my dd's transition back to public school to be as painless as I can make it.

And, Sharlla, I too remember the days of showing up at school with nothing but some lunch money and a couple of special new pencils with my name on them or something. Of course I am looking at my high school reunion coming up now...times change :
post #6 of 209
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsElle07
Sorry you're upset. The fact that you pay money in property taxes does not mean that all of that money is going to your daughter's school.
Am I the only one who thought this 'sorry' sounded more like a 'too damn bad' than an actual expression of sympathy? I feel like it was very condescending. I know all too well what a small percentage of my property tax goes to the school my daughter is going to attend.
post #7 of 209
There are things I won't buy like Kleenex, I made my dd's hankies and they take them.

The 6 of us here don't go through 2 boxes of kleenex(what they wanted my dd in grade 3 to send) in a year much less my 1 child.

We never had school uniforms when i was a child and they don't now. We wore shorts and a t-shirt. For school sports we didn't have to pay for the uniforms, they were handed in at the end of the season. In 1991 our school had the funds to buy the basketball team new uniforms, we were quite happy to get rid of the ones from the 60's/70's.lol

We never had hot lunches unless it was something special and then it was once every 1-2 months, same with my dd's school here and they do it fairly cheap $1-2. The money goes to the parent group which buys alot of things for the school.

Quote:
$5 'locker rental fee'
THis is just silly, I am guessing it is mandatory that they have lockers too.

We have a $20 fee at the beginning of school, part(probably half to 3/4) of that goes towards their agendas.
post #8 of 209
I hear you.

Ds' teacher sent a long list of things that every student is required to bring for the classroom, in addition to the regular school supplies that I remember bringing as a kid (eg: box of baby wipes, a dispenser of hand sanitizer, kleenex, the list goes on....).

alsoSarah
post #9 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by PajamaMama
Am I the only one who thought this 'sorry' sounded more like a 'too damn bad' than an actual expression of sympathy? I feel like it was very condescending. I know all too well what a small percentage of my property tax goes to the school my daughter is going to attend.
I think she meant Sorry, of your $5K probably less than half of that goes to the school system. So to complain about your overall property taxes and schools in the same sentence isn't exactly fair. I don't think it was meant to be condenscending. And the rest of your property taxes probably don't leave the state, in fact they probably dont' leave your community.

I think I'm a little touchy on the subject myself b/c dh is a teacher. The original person who said sorry and myself have seen probably and/or actually gone through school board meetings where people demand that budgets be slashed b/c only 30 kids are taking chorus, so who needs chorus? At my dh's high school b/c of budget cuts there are not enough classes to keep seniors in school the whole day. Parent's don't care b/c they consider school just babysitting until their kids can start working. But god forbid they cut the football or hockey program. In another school district around here when teachers went on strike parents didn't care b/c they were reassured there would be no change to the sports schedule another strike got acrimonious b/c teachers/coaches refused to coach during their strike.

So when it comes down to charging you $15 for supplies or cutting a teacher, I hope you understand and you seem to, that most school districts would prefer to charge for supplies. I'd personally prefer it if people in general looked at what it actually does cost to live in society. To maintain roadways, public buildings, snow removal, schools etc. and be more willing to pay that cost. It's not that I think taxes should be sky high but I'd realy like to see a town stop plowing a few streets during the winter of those who say, "I don't want to pay for that" during budget time. So maybe they would realize more we're all in this together to build a future for our community and children.
post #10 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by PajamaMama
Am I the only one who thought this 'sorry' sounded more like a 'too damn bad' than an actual expression of sympathy? I feel like it was very condescending. I know all too well what a small percentage of my property tax goes to the school my daughter is going to attend.
If I meant too damn bad, I would have said too damn bad. What I said and meant was, "I'm sorry you're upset."

You said this:
Quote:
Our real estate taxes exceeded $5000 last year. We pay $600 a month into an escrow account to cover our taxes and insurance. Not to mention, the 5 figure income tax we paid to Uncle Sam...
And made it sound like all that money you're paying should be going for things like Kleenex at your daughter's school. That's not really how it works. To include how much you pay in property taxes and how much you're paying for supplies unfairly correlates the two.
post #11 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla
I remember when I was in school parents never had to pay for anything other than hot lunches and personal school supplies that was on a list. It's insane how much parents have to dish out now, what happens if the family is low income and they can't afford the extras?
Every district makes accommodations for this. I have never known a family who couldn't afford something who was told no by the school. Part of the reason they ask people to bring things in is because they have to make accommodations for the very low income who truly can't afford it.
post #12 of 209
We pay over $150 per year for books, and that is the "reduced" fee for the kids who qualify for free lunch..the regular kids pay over twice that. For ELEMENTARY school books!!!!

Like Carrie Mf said, if we don't feel something is necesary, we don't get it.
For example, when the now-9-yr old was in K, his teacher (a first year out of school, seriously germaphobic young lady) wanted all the kids to bring in bottles of the HORRID, so bad for you im not even going to rant about it on here, since you guys all know!!!! waterless hand disinfectant stuff.
We sent in a nice note instead, stating that not only were we not sending it, but that is was truly not a good thing to be using, and that she was free to ask N to wash his hands several times during the day, as she felt appropriate.
post #13 of 209

costs

In addition to being asked to supply the types of items mentioned, we are also buying uniforms to attend public school. I am fine with the uniforms, yet the principal changes the rules each year, if not each semester.
Her new rule for this year? The children must wear a uniform colored winter coat if they wear it during the day, to recess or to the trailers to change class. I think that is overboard. It does not matter what color the children's coats are. We change schools mid year due to a new school being built, and half of the children will move, to the new school, where parents voted NO to uniforms. So I must buy a wintercoat to suit this principal for one semester.....crazy. Of course, punishments were added to the list for breaking her new rules. I can afford a new coat, finding one will be another problem. It must be solid navy, green. white, or khaki, with no stripes or logos. The uniform vendor has none listed online.
Thoughts...do any of your schools get this specific with uniforms? I went to 12 years of Catholic schools with the Dominican nuns, and never had it like this.
Peggy
post #14 of 209
Wow that is awfull having to pay that much. Here they do need school supplies like paper and pencil but a locker Fee!?!?!?! no way. Gym uniform : Books are provided for free as well. Only charge happens if they loose it.

We do pay for food but on a slidding scale based on income.


My dd has to bring in a box of klenex personally i think that is so silly i mean why cant they use toilet paper just like i did when i had to blow my nose. : They also need a bottle of antibacterial hand soap and they will use them one at a time thru the year. Every child uses from the same bottle till it is empty and so on same with the klenex and roll of paper towels.
post #15 of 209
Quote:
There are things I won't buy like Kleenex, I made my dd's hankies and they take them
But they are for the whole class.
post #16 of 209

bs"d

Well, in theory, the tissues each child brings are supposed to cover that child's share of the tissues for the year even though the tissues are pooled in a classroom supply. If her dds do not use the classroom supply, perhaps they should not have to contribute to it either. I know I'd prefer my kids to limit their consumption of paper products in this way if practical.
post #17 of 209
Even if I made hankies for my kids, I'd send the kleenex in I think - I don't want some other kids snot flowing freely around my kid! kekeke

In our school, the kid could honestly show up with nothing and they'd be fine. I'll do the usual - backpack, notebook, some neat pencils and a lunchbox, but even that isn't necessary. There are no book fees (unless you lose a book), t-shirts for gym are provided and they can just wear any athletic shorts (and that's only middle school and up, elementary school doesn't change for gym), they'll get pencils, notebooks, etc. They would have to pay for the school lunch (less than $2 a day, but I'm not exactly sure on the price). And yes, I'll send in a couple of boxes of Kleenex with my 2nd grader, like I said, I'm happy to help make sure everyone has something to use!
post #18 of 209
yup, it's annoying at times, I agree. And, I know this sounds glib, but for gosh sakes, facial tissue seems to be the hottest commodity in the school setting. It's a conversation piece within the school staff rooms as well.

I do know though. When ds hit kindergarten I think I wrote five or six checks within the first week; the de rigueur t-shirt and sweatshirt with the school logo, the 10 (yep, I send in 10 each year) boxes of kleenex plus a case of baby wipes. The stickers for the classroom, the list goes on and on. I said to dh, "Huh, so this is free public schooling..." The district I work in provides everything except the school t-shirts.
post #19 of 209
I haven't gotten a supply list for DS starting kindergarten (at least not yet). But his friend just moved to the next town over, and not only did they get a list, it was brand specific -- not the cheapo discount brands either: Crayola crayons, Fiskar scissors, Puffs brand tissues, etc.
post #20 of 209
We are in a generally middle-upper middle class district (we so are not that tho!) and I was shocked that for 4 years now-we are never ever asked to supply anything! No pencils, notebooks, folders, nada. So monetarily, they kick butt.

A friend who lived in a wealthy district nearby (but was dirt poor herself, with 3 boys) was expected to pay for EVERYTHING. The school had a POOL for gym and they wanted tons of swimming supplies! She finally called the school who HASSLED her but gave in. She felt crumby having to say "I am broke, sorry!" HEr kid had to skip it or they had to make arrangements.
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