Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's That Time Of Year Again...School Supplies

Every year it's the same thing. I look through the list of school supplies my children need and wonder how this list is even compiled (this is NOT the full list)...
  • 5 boxes of Kleenex - my entire family doesn't go through 5 boxes of Kleenex in a year! And can we send in a different brand instead?
  • 12 spiral bound notebooks - Please! The Boy brought home at least half a dozen of these at the end of the school year with only a few pages used out of each one! Now he alone needs a dozen of these for 6th grade.
  • 72 SHARPENED pencils - What does a 3rd grader need with 72 pencils in the first place. And I don't have a handy electric sharpener at home. Am I supposed to have a "pencil sharpening party" and hand everyone a handful of pencils and a little sharpener? At least the 6th grade list just said "Pencils" which I interpreted as "Make sure your child has a pencil every day."
  • Dividers - I never, not once, saw the dividers I purchased last year dividing anything in their notebooks.
  • 2 Boxes of Dry Erase Markers - Are these going to be used by my child or by their teacher? I only ask because I find it hard to believe that in a class of 20 children, the teacher is going to need 40 boxes of dry erase markers (that's 160 dry erase markers if everyone buys the SMALL box). I also find it hard to believe that one child will go through 2 boxes in 9 months.
One child HAS to have a Trapper Keeper (or equivalent) and the other child needs a binder that is NOT a Trapper Keeper.

On top of all the supplies, they HAVE to have an agenda ($5), they HAVE to have a class t-shirt for field trips ($10)

One year in NC, each child was required to bring in a full package of Avery labels. I later found out the labels were used as labels for their folders and supplies (a single Sharpie would have taken care of all that) and as name tags - a new one every day for the whole year. Really? It took that long to learn each others names? Couldn't they just make one laminated name tag for the child to wear every day?

I realize the schools have a budget and that budget gets smaller as the economy tightens. But that economy is the same one the parents have to deal with. Our household budgets tighten and don't allow for the ever increasing portion of school supplies. Do I still get everything on the list? Yes. But if I send in a box of gallon sized bags that are not Ziploc brand, I don't want to hear any crap about it - or they can send them back. I'll use them at home.

I really wonder what the school budget was when I was in grade school. I needed a notebook, pencils, pens and paper. At one point I needed a protractor.

Out of curiosity, I looked up NC school budget 1986 in Google and came across a site that gave budget stats (though it did NOT go as far back as I was searching). Interestingly, the only Per Pupil Expenditure drop I found was for the 2009 - 2010 school year (down $212 per pupil). This doesn't show specific cuts made throughout the years to administration, transportation, etc, which would have an impact on the overall education our children receive, but it was interesting to see the numbers.

Per Pupil Expenditure in Average Daily Membership (Current Expenses Only) 
1999-2000 $6,280
2000-2001 $6,654
2001-2002 $6,696
2002-2003 $6,741
2003-2004 $7,006
2004-2005 $7,328
2005-2006 $7,596
2006-2007 $8,017
2007-2008 $8,522
2008-2009 $8,663
2009-2010 $8,451

I then looked up Colorado - specifically the Cherry Creek School District. I could only find the budget for the current year and the previous year.

2010-2011  $6,742
2011-2012  $6,402

I know that the Cherry Creek School District runs fewer buses than NC (larger population in a smaller area), but we're looking at $2000 less per student! And the Cherry Creek School District is THE desired district in this area.

Luckily, the "Pickles" don't need their book bags or their lunch boxes replaced. They still have their markers and colored pencils from previous years. Tristan still has his flash drive from 5th grade and we still have a huge stash of glue sticks from a fabulous Back To School sale a couple years ago.



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