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#1 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No more school supply lists...

In our district, lawyers have determined that schools/teachers can no longer ask parents to purchase school supplies at the beginning of the year. Nor can teachers ask for funds for field trips etc. The legal system believes this goes against "free and appropriate education."

That leaves parents guessing what to buy for our kids for school. It also leaves us guessing what teachers might need in their classrooms, though we can probably nail that one pretty well (wipes, glue, markers, tissues, etc.)

Has anyone else been through this with their district? Is this the way things are going? Have you come up with innovative ways to support the school? Here we do not want the PTO to get in the business of supplying the basics. We want to continue to focus on enrichment and 'extras.'

 
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#2 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 04:42 PM
 
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This has pretty much always been the case with the school systems I've dealt with. The school district provides common supplies like toilet paper, tissues, wipes, paint and brushes for art projects, glue, pencil sharpeners, markers for the white-board. That's considered part and parcel of "free universal public education." I'm guessing that's what the legal ruling in your area has declared: parents do not have to provide basic classroom supplies because those are part of free public education. I suppose if the school needed parents to buy those common classroom supplies, the best way to find out what a particular teacher needed would be to ask.

Personal supplies that kids like to have in their own desks or lockers for their own use are up to each family but it's not a big deal if your kid doesn't have what he wants or needs for the whole year when he walks into the classroom for the first time. We supply the obvious things (a couple of pencils and pens, a few felts or crayons and a glue stick or two, some lined paper and a notebook and backpack or messenger bag to keep it in). For high school kids we add a three-ring binder, a calculator and a geometry set. Other stuff my kids will tell me about as the year goes on -- maybe they'd like their own pencil sharpener, a lip balm to keep at school, a few pieces of half-centimetre graph paper, or they've lost both their ballpoint pens. My kids are pretty careful and frugal and overall we spend a fraction of what the school supply lists I read about on the internet would cost. Many of our supplies are used for years in a row, by multiple children.

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#3 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 05:16 PM
 
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Oh, that's so great, Lauren! The lists in my area drive me nuts - mainly because of the huge added expense of everyone driving to the store and buying in low quantity retail - what a waste!

Something that may work for your PTO is to have a "basics drive" in the very beginning of the year and explain that you will be filling in the gaps in the budget by spending collective money in smart ways. My DC's first school did this. They called it the "school supply coop".

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#4 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 05:33 PM
 
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Our school posts supply lists, but there's a note at the bottom stating that they're suggestions only, and that if children don't send in supplies, they will receive supplies from the school. Pretty much everyone sends in supplies, though. I bought everything on my kids' supply lists today (2 kids), and it cost $45 total, which is less than I've heard many people spending.

The thing that bugs me is how specific the lists are. Every year they ask for Uhu white glue sticks, but all that's available at Target are Elmer's disappearing purple glue sticks. I'm not driving all over heck and back to find particular brands. If they need a specific brand of white glue sticks, I'd rather just give the teacher a check for $20 at the beginning of the year to cover supply costs.
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#5 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 05:41 PM
 
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Our school posts supply lists, but there's a note at the bottom stating that they're suggestions only. ... [snip] ... The thing that bugs me is how specific the lists are. Every year they ask for Uhu white glue sticks, but all that's available at Target are Elmer's disappearing purple glue sticks.
But if they're suggestions only, why wouldn't Elmer's be fine?

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#6 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh wow. It would be sad to see that here. Already my state spends the least per student and our teachers are the lowest paid in the nation. So if that was the ruling here I wouldn't see school budgets being able to fill in the gaps and I would see our teachers who already spend way to much out of pocket to supply students paying even more of their meager salaries on simple supplies.

The only way I think we could cover it would be to have the PTO do fundraising and provide those supplies. The good news is that it probably wouldn't cost as much as it does for every individual parent to do it as they could buy in bulk.

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#7 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 07:53 PM
 
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I am pretty sure they can't MAKE you buy school supplies, but there are published lists and you can buy a box of supplies from PTA. It's super cheap and everyone has more or less the same thing. Teachers have wish lists on their websites. The lists are things like hand soap, paper towel, kleenex, printer paper, ink. It's pretty sad.

If our school district had to supply all supplies AND the teachers couldn't ask for supplies, I can't imagine where the money would come from. There just wouldn't be field trips. If some people can't afford the 30 once a year for the PTA box, they have the option of requesting a free one and that's great (same for field trips, tell the teacher, teacher talks to PTA, PTA takes care of it), but for goodness sake, we can't really expect that schools supply EVERYTHING. Public education only works if those of us who can contribute do so.
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#8 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 07:56 PM
 
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Are they going to do fewer field trips?

Here, supply list are suggestions, and there are funds for field trips for children who can't pay the minimal fee. (At the school I work at, it's no questions asked, no forms to fill in, just sign the permission form but don't turn in money).

I think it is a big misinterpretation of the law, which was put in place so that schools couldn't refuse to admit special needs students (which they used to do). It created a "zero reject" system of education. It's a federal law, and how your district is interpreting it isn't in line with how it is interpreted at the federal level.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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We did used to be able to expect that public schools would supply everything. There were never school supply lists when I was a kid, and it was a big scandal when activity fees were instituted when I was in high school.

I worry that the judge in this case has just arranged for a school to have to choose between things of educational value and toilet paper.

I wish that schools were well-enough funded that they never had to ask for money for field trips or supplies or activities. Unfortunately, local legislators do not seem to be able to throw the necessary amounts of money at the problem. I am not pleased to be bringing in markers and hand sanitizer and boxes of kleenex, but I see the need, and I would be even less pleased for my children to sit in a building with no supplies while someone tries to figure out a memorable lesson that can be executed with nothing.
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#10 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:13 PM
 
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Oh wow. It would be sad to see that here. Already my state spends the least per student and our teachers are the lowest paid in the nation.
One can make a pretty good argument that the tradition of parents and PTAs filling in gaps in school budgets has prevented politicians from being held accountable for their inadequate funding. Personally I agree that this is a slippery slope. Once parents, corporations and non-profits start propping up the public education system, the government will slack off on its responsibility to properly fund it. Maybe that has happened in your state. The need for adequate governmental funding seems less acute to you, because you can afford to make sure your kids have pencils and paper.

A few news stories about school bathrooms running out of soap or six kindergarteners having to share a single red crayon: that's the sort of stuff it'll take for the populace to start screaming loud about poor funding and demanding the state fix their abysmal funding. If the people with political sway, those in upper-middle-class and affluent school districts, can easily make up for inadequate funding by paying $150 every fall to make sure their kids' classrooms have soap and red crayons, nothing will get better, and poor kids will suffer the most from the lack of funding.

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#11 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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Are they going to do fewer field trips?
My province experienced a similar court ruling several years ago. I can tell you what happened to us with the field trips. The more frivolous, far-flung and expensive field trips ceased immediately, but plenty of more affordable ones took their place. In our case (a rural, fairly isolated school) the trips to the Shakespearean theatre, adventure park, the Children's Festival and the science centre stopped. Instead, the kids do a lot of nature study walks, water quality science labs at the creek, visiting the nursing home to listen to "Living History" stories, they do shoreline clean-up and so on. Trips are closer to home, self-powered, and honestly more relevant to the students' daily lives. And I think there are actually more of them now that they're simpler and the logistics are less complicated.

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#12 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well "class trips" stopped a while ago. My older children went on way more of them when they were in elementary school. Things that we had to pay for, such as a theme park, a science museum, etc. My child currently in elementary has never really gone on a class trip yet (she is entering 4th grade), so it has already been whittled down to almost nothing.

So it's not just that teachers can't ask for tissues, hand sanitizer, etc, they can't ask for ANYTHING. Even if we ask them, they are not supposed to tell us what they need. The only way we can bring things in for the classroom is if we spontaneously bring it.

And we have no guidance whatsover on whther our children need a binder, or folders, or markers, or glue. We just have to guess. The teachers know what they need, but they aren't allowed to tell us.

I agree that if PTO's start taking this on, it will shift responsibility and then it won't get any political attention. Thing is, in this rural area, it's just small school boards and select boards that continue to try to eke money out of homeowners, many of whom are elderly. We don't live in a big suburban middle class area with a lot of tax cushion or industry.

I think perhaps some 'underground' lists might start to be emailed around! Thing is, if there WAS a list, and some of us found out there were some families that couldn't afford the materials, we'd likely be happy to help out. But we're not allowed to know.....

 
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#13 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:51 PM
 
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Miranda, I think it absolutely sucks that your district had to stop trips to the Shakespearean theater and the science center, and then I think it absolutely sucks that you (who are quite vocal about not having relied on these schools) think that "Living History" at the local senior center, and shoreline cleanup and whatnot, are a decent substitute for exposure to art, poetry and science in ways that aren't necessarily available in your own community. Especially since you do not appear to believe that this education was adequate for your own children, it kind of smacks of the idea that the public school students are being well-enough educated for their station.
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#14 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 08:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should also add that in this state there have already been lawsuits and then laws passed, that try to equalize funding across the state. "Rich" towns basically already have to subsidize "poor" towns, via a state tax to spread the funding across the state.

But it's not enough, and supposedly this law will be revisited again next legislative session. The towns are really struggling. Population is fairly low here, and just not enough funding to 'prop' things up.

 
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#15 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 09:19 PM
 
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Miranda, I think it absolutely sucks that your district had to stop trips to the Shakespearean theater and the science center, and then I think it absolutely sucks that you (who are quite vocal about not having relied on these schools) think that "Living History" at the local senior center, and shoreline cleanup and whatnot, are a decent substitute for exposure to art, poetry and science in ways that aren't necessarily available in your own community. Especially since you do not appear to believe that this education was adequate for your own children, it kind of smacks of the idea that the public school students are being well-enough educated for their station.
I'm not sure what you're implying here ?? The Shakespearean theatre and science centre are 8+ hours away: it was an extremely expensive trip involving at least two overnights in a hotel. My eldest went to the Shakespeare performances on a school trip before the court ruling banned parents from paying for such things, but my next two kids went through the system after the ruling and therefore couldn't, and I don't think their educations were immeasurably impoverished by not having me spend several hundred dollars to send them. It would be nice if every kid could see Shakespeare performed in the round, but is that truly a realistic expectation for those of us who live in such remote areas?

Three of my four kids have been in school full-time, and the other one goes part-time, partly because of the elective experiences in arts and sciences that they offer. I'm talking about my own kids' experiences in the school system. No, I haven't relied 100% on the school system for their educations: they were homeschooled during their early years because of their asynchronous learning needs, and I have continued to encourage them to sing in a youth choir and to study musical instruments and to have interests outside of school. Does that disqualify me from having an opinion on our experiences within the school system?

Am I missing something in what you're saying?

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#16 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 09:28 PM
 
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One can make a pretty good argument that the tradition of parents and PTAs filling in gaps in school budgets has prevented politicians from being held accountable for their inadequate funding. Personally I agree that this is a slippery slope. Once parents, corporations and non-profits start propping up the public education system, the government will slack off on its responsibility to properly fund it. Maybe that has happened in your state. The need for adequate governmental funding seems less acute to you, because you can afford to make sure your kids have pencils and paper.

A few news stories about school bathrooms running out of soap or six kindergarteners having to share a single red crayon: that's the sort of stuff it'll take for the populace to start screaming loud about poor funding and demanding the state fix their abysmal funding. If the people with political sway, those in upper-middle-class and affluent school districts, can easily make up for inadequate funding by paying $150 every fall to make sure their kids' classrooms have soap and red crayons, nothing will get better, and poor kids will suffer the most from the lack of funding.

Miranda
Seriously if parents didn't step in to fill the gap, teachers will. It wouldn't result in legislation for better funding. It would just result in teachers spending their pathetic paycheck on my kid's school supplies. I can't imagine a single teacher sitting in a school without soap or crayons not attempt to make the situation better for their students.

And trust me the fact that I can, barely this year, afford to buy school supplies for my own children doesn't mean I'm not working hard to lobby for better school funding. I can do both. I can contribute to school supply drives, other years when I can afford it, and still work hard as an advocate for better funding formulas. But I don't think that while I'm working to do so that students or teachers should suffer, just so I can prove a point that will likely be lost in the shuffle regardless.

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#17 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 09:28 PM
 
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Also, I wanted to say that at least in my area of training (science) I absolutely believe that the local watershed workshops, field trips, lab exercises and experiences that my kids have had through the school are a far more robust science education than what they'd gain through a day spent at a science centre in the big city. If you think it sucks that I believe that, I suppose you're entitled to your opinion, but I stand by my contrary opinion.

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#18 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 09:54 PM
 
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Interesting. I haven't heard of anything like this. It'd be a nasty situation in my state if that happened. It's bad enough as it is. This is a low income state with poorly funded schools as is. The school supply lists are INSANE! It can easily reach $100 for just one child's supplies. There's no way that's only for one child.

Example here is the 1st grade supply list at one local school:
Bookbag (No Zippered Notebooks, No Wheels, No drawstrings or beach bags)
3 packages Pencil Top Erasers
Scissors
3 Large Boxes Kleenex
8 Boxes of Crayola Crayons-24 count
2 Large Rolls of Paper Towels
2 packs multi-purpose copy paper(500 sheets)
2 Plastic Folders with pockets and prongs
3 Packages Notebook Paper (Wide Ruled)
6 spiral notebooks (70 ct. wide ruled)
2 Large bottle of glue (Elmer’s)
4 Glue Sticks
4 Packages #2 yellow pencils (24 count) no Dixon or designer pencils
1 package of 4x6 index cards
Zippered pencil bag/pencil box
3 boxes of disinfectant wipes
2 boxes of baby wipes
Ziplock Freezer Bags (1 box of each size listed: sandwich, quart, 2-gallon)
3 Tablets (Blue Horse Primary School Tablet #48142 or Top Flight J-2-29)
4 40 ounce bottles of Hand Sanitizer or 6-12 ounce bottles (No Soap)
1 Pack Multi-Colored Construction Paper


There's a note on the list also to not write your child's name on any of the supplies. Most parents here get so angry with how extreme the list is that they won't send supplies or will only send one of each item and tell the teacher to let them know when their child needs anything else. Some of the other schools in the area aren't so bad though like the one my kids were in last year but it wasn't as low income or as big of a school either. Honestly I'd hate to know what the teachers would do here if they couldn't get help from the few parents that do send supplies. S


I know you said that they aren't allowing supply lists to go out but seriously the teachers can't ask for anything? What about setting up an account on a website like donorschoose or classwish? That way it's a wish list the parents could see and use as guidance but it won't be connected to the school as a whole or appear like an expectation for class attendance. I think something like that would be great. I've always thought all classes should have one because it's hard to know how to help throughout the year after that first of the year supply list.

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#19 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 10:01 PM
 
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Also, I wanted to say that at least in my area of training (science) I absolutely believe that the local watershed workshops, field trips, lab exercises and experiences that my kids have had through the school are a far more robust science education than what they'd gain through a day spent at a science centre in the big city. If you think it sucks that I believe that, I suppose you're entitled to your opinion, but I stand by my contrary opinion.

Miranda
I think it sucks (since you used that word--not my preference) that you're apparently not capable of stating your opinion in a less condescending manner. School experiences are not all about your ideals of simplicity and expanding a student's world view beyond their own lives is part of the point of school trips.

While politicians will be lazy when parents fill the gap, parental refusal is not always sufficient to sway them. Some politicians don't care about whether or not children have extracurricular opportunities and instead prefer to dream of supposed "good old days" when it was 40 kids to a class. They think schools have too much money already.

For what it's worth, I went to school in a well funded area (suburban NYC), but it was 20-30 years ago, and we were expected to pay for trips and consumable supplies (ie. paper, pens). We were not, however, expected to pay for sports, clubs, and the like, and the lists were not quite as elaborate and did not include classroom items.

At my child's school in a somewhat lower tax state, we have not been asked to pay for trips yet. We are asked to provide consumable supplies, and some generic class supplies (these are optional). The PTO raises money to pay for trips. I do prefer this and was always uncomfortable with the pay for field trips method, especially for longer trips taken through band and the like (there were opportunities to do fundraising for these trips, but that can be difficult when 200 people are all selling candy and gift wrap).
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#20 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 10:40 PM
 
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I think it sucks (since you used that word--not my preference)
Not my word. Meepycat's word.

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#21 of 70 Old 08-10-2014, 11:03 PM
 
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It wouldn't result in legislation for better funding. It would just result in teachers spending their pathetic paycheck on my kid's school supplies.
I suppose I really don't understand the mentality behind education funding in the US. In some ways American schools seem to offer so much, and the per-capita amounts I see quoted in many districts don't seem low compared to my Canadian province, yet your schools seem so reliant on paltry teaching salaries and parental contributions to remain functional. I'm not sure where all the money is going, but that question aside I suppose overall there's more of a left-leaning mentality in Canada with respect to public education. The idea of it falling to affected individuals to pour money into something that is supposed to be free and universal and a basic human right doesn't sit well with most Canadians.

I thought that because my kids were enrolled in a school system that experienced a similar ruling several years ago that I might have some perspectives to offer but clearly most of you think I don't, so I'll shut up.

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#22 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 12:41 AM
 
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I feel this interpretation of the law supports a more equal playing field. I am down with it.

For many families required school supplies lists and field trip fees cause financial stress. Even when the option exists to ask for help or to simply not send suggested items or fees, children and parents may feel shame or sadness that that they are unable to provide what is requested. This can create significant emotional distress. Other times folks may feel obligated and go without basic essentials at home in order to finance the requests, creating material distress.

Mothers holding back tears (or not holding them back) while dealing w these stressors and children standing near absorbing it all, that's feeling sucky to me.

I feel for the teachers and students dealing with underfunded district budgets, but also think these issues beg a more nuanced dialogue about the multilayered political social and emotional cconsiderations at play.
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#23 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 04:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mooninmama, all perspectives are welcome, so do let's all be respectful and be kind with our words! I, the OP, am finding this discussion to be very helpful, even though I have to keep dashing off to one thing or another between posts.

You asked where all the money was going in public education... my opinion? Health care costs. When insurance companies raise their premiums, money raised from property taxes goes to pay teacher's health care premiums. Another way in which Canada likely has advantage. So in America, at least in this area, education costs can go up every year, and schools be no better off---just insurance companies.

Regarding school trips---I take a middle approach. I think 'special' school trips are very valuable in balance with actual field work or free/cheap experiences. I think special makes the ordinary worth hanging in there for. I feel sad for my daughter that she is not having the same experiences my older children had. That said, I would be resentful if the trip was too expensive, as with some of the theatre/art/music field trips that are not mandated but "everyone's going, mom." It seems like the pendulum always has to swing in EXTREME directions; never is there balance. That seems to be the unfortunate by product of the court system.

 
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#24 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 06:20 AM
 
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Not all American teaching salaries are paltry. The areas quoted as having exceptionally high taxes and per capita spending often have higher salaries. The average teacher salary where I grew up is nearly 6 figures and they usually manage to find someone every year making $150K (this figure, however, requires MA+60, 20+ years of experience, and coaching sports). The US is a very large place and schools are much more localized than most countries. Public education is prized in some areas and desperately underfunded in others.

Health care and pension costs drive up expenses. Special education costs also drive up per student spending. In addition the better school districts have smaller classes. For most of my elementary school years my classes were under 20 students, except for one year immediately following a school consolidation. That requires more teachers and more money.

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#25 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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Not remembering the diversity of school systems in the US, I figured you were in favor of this ruling, Lauren. That's because I live in a district that is known for struggling with budget concerns and where many parents live well below the poverty line. Some schools see a 101% poverty level, the lowest I've seen in our district is 30%.

The reason I would support this decision in my area is two-fold.

For one, I do agree that school supply lists are essentially parents propping up the budgets of schools - and for basics to boot. In our area, there doesn't seem to be any consensus for these lists. It's likely that high-poverty schools have smaller lists or lists that can be filled with the school-supply programs offered for free by the city. My DC's school is in a more wealthy area and her list fills an 8x11 page, two columns = about a hundred items. In our area I think we see the supply lists creating a bigger economic/privilege gap.

The other thing is that the supply lists here are so extensive that there is this noticeable dynamic where the supply lists are boosting the sales of our big-box stores. That's super frustrating to me. Every parent is going out to the stores. Every parent is price/quality comparing (a huge part of the process for those 100 item lists!). I just can't imagine the impact on price, waste, energy use, effort, time, and stress that could be eliminated if we pooled our resources. And that gets into the whole point of public school to me - pooling resources to provide the maximum opportunity for kids.

But, none of this is relevant to other districts. I KNOW we have waste galore that could be streamlined to eliminate this effort. Doing so would free up energy and money from parents for more meaningful contributions. But that's a "big city" reality that is probably way different for rural schools where maybe things are already stretched thin across the board. And this thing where teachers can't even tell an inquiring parent what they need in their class? That's absurd, IMO. Are teachers/admins not allowed to communicate to families at all about what kids need for school? Clothing for PE, back-packs or ways to carry their stuff or the things they will need to have for personal use? Are kids not to prepare ahead for what they will need? I see huge potential for waste that may not benefit anyone in the end.

ETA: Field trips. I don't know how I feel about this. I certainly think that field trips are an essential part of a well-rounded education. I think they're important and am happy for my DC that both her schools in this district have put in the effort to proved field-trips for kids. I have never batted an eye at the price (usually between $1-$10). I know that teachers and admins to way, way out of their way to keep costs low, which often required grants or seeking out public transportation passes and/or free events. That's a lot of extra work for teachers and even then we were asked to pay some amount. I KNOW there were programs for parents who couldn't afford these but I also know that no one wants to be the person who has to pony up and say they can't afford $6 bucks for a field trip.

So, back to the school supply list - I think there is money there for field trips (at least in our district). I'd like to see us be better about spending and taxing so that we have the money for education. But that would be like asking our city to invest big now for the future, which if you see the way they patch our crumbling infrastructure, would make you LOL.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif

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#26 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 07:04 AM
 
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I actually read our school board's minutes monthly. The costs go to salaries and benefits, which are mostly health care and retirement. The benefits are the least elastic with regards to cuts, and so any cycle of belt-tightening will affect everything else first, leaving these costs a larger and larger portion of the pie. The other part that's not as clear is that federal funds do not fully cover special education costs. This is an expansion in the function of public schools beyond what it was when my white-haired neighbors went to school, something they sadly don't realize when they vote on local school funding. Our district is one of those "super high salary" districts, but when you dig in through the school board documents, it becomes clear that our average salaries are high because teachers stay in the district for their whole career. The starting salaries are still insulting to the profession. Our athletics and arts are almost 100% covered by booster clubs, donations, and pay-to-play fees. We have to buy the consumable workbooks for all non-core classes. The whole district has even reduced mailings to parents cutting their printing and postage budget 90%.

Our school PTO covers the supplies and field trip fees for all kids on free or reduced school lunch, as well as many others who ask for it experiencing a temporary crunch. The policy is that the parents speak directly to the principal about this to ensure privacy. I think that's an excellent solution that helps ensure that the school gets the supplies it needs and everyone goes on all trips.

The only thing I wish they'd change is to give families the lists earlier and to tell people where some of the things can be bought. We are urged to buy the supplies through a third party "all in one" company, but it's about 3x as expensive and wasteful (I can reuse USB drives for several years, for instance, instead of getting new each year). There are a few oddball items on there similar to the list posted up thread that I've located at an obscure school supply store locally. Combining that trip to the store plus sales at Target (and no, I don't worry about the brand on anything but crayons), I spent $30 this year. The third party package would have been $128. I then donate the difference to the principal's supply fund.

But to the OP's question, send in the less obvious stuff - tissues, paper towels, dry erase markers, sharpies, etc. Or donate a Target gift card or something similar.
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#27 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 07:33 AM
 
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Or donate a Target gift card or something similar.
This is a great idea for parents who are frustrated by not being able to give. As a group the PTO could send a letter to parents explaining the situation and asking parents to take whatever they usually budget for supplies and purchase a gift-card.

This is very good for Target (which for some reason just bothers me to no end) but it's also good for teachers - it may be better than lists because they can buy in bulk, as they need throughout the year, and make changes.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#28 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 07:39 AM
 
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Lauren, I'm not sure if this store has competitive prices for traditional school supplies but they had very competitive pricing for art supplies. For some things the quality was slightly lower (compared to great stores like Artist Craftsman or Blick) but the overall quality was good for the price. I like the idea of a PTO coming together to get some higher-quality, longer lasting products for school (like metal rulers, quality scissors, bulk markers, and etc.) so that your collective money goes further. Here's the link for price comparison: https://store.schoolspecialty.com/OA...minisite=10206

Added bonus is packaging. 100 glue sticks comes in a simple cardboard box. 1-3 units in a store like Target comes in paper with hard plastic.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#29 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 08:08 AM
 
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Added bonus is packaging. 100 glue sticks comes in a simple cardboard box. 1-3 units in a store like Target comes in paper with hard plastic.
Yes, this is what I hate about the way school supplies work. Surely it's more economical and ecological to just buy everything in bulk from pooled resources.

I hope that the OP's district will likely come around with some sort of system to communicate to parents what's needed without asking for it in a way that crosses this interpretation of the law.
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#30 of 70 Old 08-11-2014, 10:33 AM
 
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But if they're suggestions only, why wouldn't Elmer's be fine?

Miranda
I didn't explain that very well. I meant that they make it clear that buying supplies for your child is optional -- they will provide supplies to children who don't bring any. But if you do provide supplies, the requested brands are very specific, which I find annoying.

I do send in the Elmer's purple glue sticks rather than trying to find a store that sells Uhu white ones, and I've never had a teacher complain, so maybe it's not as big a big deal to them as I'm making it out to be.
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