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School Fees

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Susan1, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. Susan1

    Susan1 Well-Known Member

    Hi. I know there are a lot of teachers out here.............Can someone expound on why there is a $46 fee for my friend's just turned 13 year old son (whatever grade that is) for the school year. And why he has to provide two boxes of Kleenexes, which he could not possibly use all of at school. I do get the general concept of teachers having to spend their own money on stuff. I just thought someone could provide some details. She is complaining because she is already providing all of his day-to-day supplies. And knows there will be more fees coming after classes start. She does just like to complain anyway. And this is the third kid she's sent to school every year; the oldest just graduated from college. Thanks.
  2. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Some teachers make students pay a fee that will cover educational supplies for the year beyond daily supplies. I knew one teacher who really liked this magazine series for social studies, but didn't want to pay for it. So she made all the children pay for it (including her costs). I know some teachers budget in the costs for them to participate in field trips and charge that back to students.

    Your friend could always ask the teacher what the money is specifically for. If she doesn't have the money, there should be scholarships available.

    We protested some of the fees we were expected to pay as much of it was for food at school parties that my child couldn't eat because of dietary restrictions. Have to say, the teacher got quite nasty about it.
  3. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Why do you say he could not possibly use 2 boxes of Kleenex? I was really sick two weeks ago and went through 2 boxes in 2 days. It is extremely feasible that he would go through 2 boxes over the course of the school year. The other obvious answer is that he may not use all 2 boxes but someone else may use more than 2 boxes but it averages out and since there is no way to know exactly what each kid will use, everyone must bring the same.

    As for the fee, well it could be for anything. I would think the fee would be explained if she just asked. I think a lot of fees are crap myself and would prefer tuition just raised but I am assuming this kid goes to a public school? A lot of budgets are being cut in this economy, I would just think of the extra money as a way to assure my kid gets the best education. If it costs me an extra $200 a year, so be it, that isn't so much!
  4. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member

    Did your friend's child not bring home a note asking for, explaining these fees?

    We use to have to pay somewhere between the amounts of $65.00 -$100.00, (depending on school and child, my kids spanned a number of years from oldest to youngest) some of which was refunded or carried over year to year. It broke down into caution fee, (potential damages) locker rental, activity fees (paying for things like day excursions in which the school board had cut funding) and book deposit.

    I also think we got the request (and I use that word lightly) for kleenex too. Some teachers ask for general classroom supplies that the school will not supply.

    The only time I ever said no was one teacher who told my son's class she wanted two packs of loose leaf paper and one pack of a specific pen from each student. There was never a letter sent home asking for this, as there always was for other fees, it was only communicated in class. I told my son to ask if this was for classroom use, to be shared amoung the other students. No, it was for the teacher's personal use throughout the year as the school didn't give her extra money for her expenses. I went to see her to explain I would contribute to the class, but not to her personal expenses, as we all have employment expenses we have to pay, not just teachers. She was quite put out and more than a little snippy. I had to watch that one closely all year. :shuffle:
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  5. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    We've had similar situations arise a lot.

    One time a teacher scheduled a field trip for the kids that was cost-free. They were riding the bus, and the children were young enough to ride for free and the field trip destination was donating all the snacks. So the teacher asked the children to bring in money from their piggy banks to pay for her bus fare and a lunch for herself.

    Another time my older son was told to pay $15 to cover the costs of renting a school bus for a field trip. But he couldn't ride the bus because he's in a wheelchair. Special services provided a van free of charge for him, but the teacher insisted he should have to pay as well. This actually happened rather frequently.

    Then another teacher requested kleenex--two boxes. But in addition, the children had to provide tissues for their own private use on top of that. The two boxes of tissues were to be for her exclusive use only. And she wanted a specific brand.
  6. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I don't understand - are teachers allowed to ask their individual classes for money? I thought any school fees would be through the school administration. It seems weird that teachers would have to fund-raise their own class in order to provide a field trip or basic school supplies for their own use.
  7. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

    That is shocking...and pathetic. I am very old. We never had anything like that when I was in school. The only extras I remember was the occasional fee for a special field trip. Oh, and we had to bring our three cents every day for our milk. As a social worker working with adults, I would never accept anything from the clients in my group. It would be highly unethical and would get me fired as it would break agency policy. My agency doesn't supply all that I need for my group. I end up spending about $15.00-$25.00 on supplies for group every week or two. Even though social workers are very poorly paid, it goes with the territory. I supply my own kleenx and the kleenx that the clients use during the six hours that they are on site each day.
  8. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    In my experience it's done on a class by class basis. Some teachers charge a lot while others not at all.
    When I taught, we had no budget for field trips. So if I wanted a field trip, I had to raise the money for it. Instead of charging students, however, I found outside donors and raised the money that way. And we went on some pretty :cool: field trips if I do say so myself ;).

    Personally I would have been horrified to ask students to pay for my own teacher supplies. There are many out-of-pocket expenses, but to me that's part of the job.
  9. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Hit ball, find ball, hit it again.

    It is getting out of hand. One local school district has toilet paper on their list. Another has hand sanitizer, tissues, and liquid soap. Pretty soon, the parents will be paying for Windex and floor wax.
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

    And the Christmas bribes, er, gifts for teachers are getting way out of control in some areas. $50.00 gift card per child for each teacher is the norm in the school system where my friend's children attend. LOL! I'd get fired if I accepted a stick of gum from a client.
    I know it is a very different profession, but...wow.
  11. Susan1

    Susan1 Well-Known Member

    Geez - I thought all the teachers would be on here writing about all the money THEY had to spend on their classroom! Instead I read more complaints about what teachers want.

    To the person who took exception to us not thinking he would use two boxes of Kleenex in the classroom in nine months because you had a cold - good grief! Maybe he will get a cold every month and stay in the classroom the whole time and use them all up.

    And someone said something about not raising tuition and appreciating how this $46 will go toward improving his education (paraphrasing here........) - uh, it's a public school. And a not very good one at that.

    Anyway, she really doesn't have any room to complain. She just got married to a guy with a good job and they have no money worries. When the kid was in 3rd grade, she did not have a job and went to a school fair where all the supplies were donated. That October, she was insulted when one of the teachers asked her if her kid needed a winter coat. Typical.
  12. DickButtonFan

    DickButtonFan New Member

    Maybe if so much wasn't spent on muti million dollar schools, parents wouldn't have to buy all this stuff. I just heard about a 500 mil school in Cali.
  13. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    I believe that you are in a public school district near me, in which case the fees probably cover students materials like agendas and textbook fees (each student pays a small amount that goes into a fund to buy new textbooks when the ones being used wear out) and a similar computer use fee.

    Teachers calculate how many boxes of tissues they will probably need during the school year, divide that by the number of students in homeroom (I'm assuming this is a middle school child) and ask each student to bring in that many boxes. Some teachers split it in two and ask for one box now and one later; if the teacher runs out, he or she will ask for more. Your friend's child will probably never use the tissues he brings in himself, but will almost certainly use tissues other children brought in when he is in other classrooms.

    Other fees can cover things like field trips (field trip fees include gas for the bus now), supplies for special projects, gym equipment use and things like that.

    I've had to supply reams of printer paper, liquid hand soap, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes (during a particularly bad flu season), reinforcement tabs for notebook paper, etc., etc. IME, art class is always the most expensive and requires the most specific and hard to find stuff.

    If you live in a relatively affluent school district, they tend to expect more in that line than they do in the poorer districts, simply because they are more likely to get it. I know teachers who live in my district but teach in some of the less affluent ones who laugh at the idea of asking parents to send in such things; they know that most of them can't and some of them who can won't. But here in "my child MUST have the BEST," parents will grumble but send in just about anything they are asked to, which means that the schools tend to feel free to ask.
  14. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    My daughter's private school would ask for kleenex donations; more than happy to supply the good stuff rather than the cheap stuff that feels horrible on a sore nose. I'd rather be asked for specific items because where I shop I get rewarded vs. sending a cash donation for someone else to shop to get the rewards. My local grocer donates back to my daughter's tuition account 4% of my shopping there, needless to say I am very loyal as another local chain grocer reduced it's reward program to practically nothing. They lost my business big time and I let them know it!
  15. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    When I was in school, we weren't allowed to give our teachers gifts: it was strictly forbidden by the Board of Ed. We brought our own small packs of Kleenex to school (or handkerchiefs), and it was a big deal when my 5th grade teacher asked us to bring in 3x5 file boxes. (I wanted a new one with decorations, but my father spray-painted the green one we had at home and put on decals with violets. I was not amused at the time.) We brought our own pencils and/or pens and notebooks and/or binders with loose leaf paper, and eventually, covers for reports. Everything except the file box (and the inevitable call for empty egg cartons, used popsickle sticks, etc.) was optional. That's how long ago it was.

    I think the most expensive things I or my parents spent money on in all of my years of public school were cupcakes/paper plates/plastic forks for elementary school birthdays, gym suits (one each for Jr. High and High School), three pairs of saddle shoes, and the $80, collected over two years, for our four-day 8th grade trip to DC. I don't think any other school trip was more than $5.

    I am :eek: at what it costs to send kids to public school.

    That sucks on several levels.
  16. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

    I wouldn't assume that's over the top if it's in a large school district and is designed well, especially with the technology needs in schools now.

    I have never asked my students to bring anything--but I teach in a weird district, extremely poor kids, very wealthy kids, most kids at least upper middle income. I keep a supply of pens, paper, notebooks, folders, binders, whatever for the kids who can't afford that stuff.

    I supply my own Kleenex. Maybe I should ask for boxes....

  17. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    I think DickButtonFan was referring to this school: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100822/ap_on_re_us/us_taj_mahal_schools

    Which might be an interesting topic for a PI discussion, but I doubt very much if it has much to do with the reasons the rest of us are being asked to send in stuff.

    I noticed that requests for general classroom supplies like notebook paper and tissues went way down when my son went to high school; requests for exact stuff for academic use, like specific calculators and different tools for projects, has gone way up.

    It was cheaper before :shuffle:. But in high school, because most of the classes that demand a lot of supplies are quarterly, the cost tends to be spread out more over the year rather than hitting me all at once in August.
  18. Really

    Really I need a new title

    Our school division (and all the ones in Alberta) set 'instructional fees' that are charged to all students. Schools may add some fees, but need to outline what those fees are for to the parents. The instructional fees for junior high kids in our division is about $70, IIRC. This money goes into the school's budget to help pay for things like textbooks (one junior high science text is about $70), photocopying (paper, toner, etc), and the like. We charge for field trips on a trip-by-trip basis -- user-pay, I guess. Sports teams also pay fees that go towards paying for their uniforms and transportation. Most elementary teachers ask students to bring a box of kleenex that go into the class communal stock. For some reason, junior high lists don't include that so I end up buying about 3 packs of 6 or 8 boxes a year. Toilet paper just doesn't cut it for sore noses, even for junior high kids...

    As for what I spend, I buy my own writing utensils, bulletin board display materials, posters, wall maps, stencils, games...I probably spend a couple hundred dollars every fall.

    As for gifts, I have no idea where the idea started that gifts for teachers were mandatory. To be honest, I'd just as soon parents donated any money they would spend on me to a worth charity. I have many lovely coffee mugs and scented candles, and as much as your kind thoughts are appreciated (I find the idea of the "Christmas bribe" to be rather offensive and would not think of gifts in those terms, if you don't mind), I really don't need any more.

    It's obvious there are some cases that are rather outrageous, but please don't believe that ALL teachers/schools are like that!

    (I can't believe I'm defending my profession again...)
  19. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

  20. JAF

    JAF Well-Known Member

    This will tell you how old I am ;) - have four kid and don't remember ever paying any school fees. There where some school supplies bought but only because the kids wanted something different then what the school supplied.

    What happens to the parent that just refuses to pay fees or buy products?
  21. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member


    I know my parents nevr had to pay any for me, but my oldest is 35 and I paid them for him once he reached secondary school.
  22. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    We were never asked for things like tissues or hand sanitizers. We got a list at the beginning of each school year and it was for binders, loose leaf paper, spiral notebooks, pencils, pens, highlighters, English and other language dictionaries, calculators, all personal use academic things. Sometimes we had to buy a book that was not part of the approved curriculum, but that was rare. All field trips were paid for when they happened. We got a permission form, which had specific fees on it. We signed and paid. If our child could not go for some reason, or could not go on the bus, it was either not charged or had a portion deducted. Some of the art classes had fees and some the kids either had to buy equipment or rent equipment, such as 35mm cameras/lenses. But, again, those fees were specific and the use was explained. Elementary school parties and middle school parties were all paid for by the PTA. The PTA did a lot of fundraising, from bake sales to fashion shows.
  23. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

    We don't have school fees (yet), just school supply lists. I don't mind that, especially when crayons and glue sticks are 25 cents at the Walmart, folders are 15 cents, etc.

    What I wonder, though, is whether I will be asked to send in a set of computer head phones every single year. We sent some in for K, but never got them back. Had to send another set in for 1st, but never got them back. And now have to send another set in for 2nd. :huh: What happens to all those head sets?
  24. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    when I was in junior high and high school (43+ years ago) we had student activities fee, regardless if you went to school activities or not (supposedly gain entrance to school games, assemblies, etc.). I don't remember any field trips. We weren't so concerned about flu and other respiratory illnesses (or more likely didn't hear about the epidemics). If I needed school supplies (pens, colored pencils, art supplies, etc.) that was just part of going to school.

    When my kids were in junior high and senior high school, they attended a school in the inner city. They were required to pay for student activity cards and any school sport event had additional fees to attend. I figured we could afford to buy facial tissues where other families would have trouble paying for any extras at all. even in grade school, I don't remember them having very many field trips - if they did we paid for the trip and sent lunches. But I think the school had xx dollars budgeted for trips (mostly the school bus stuff).

    I don't think that it is unreasonable to ask for classroom facial tissues. Especially since everyone is germ aware these days. and when did it become the school's responsibility to provide notepaper, pens, etc. - that is just part of going to school. I think that we donated extra supplies to the office for those kids of need.
  25. Norlite

    Norlite Well-Known Member


    No one said it was. No one in this thread anyway.

    I think most students have needed and expected to need their own personal school supplies since the dawn of time.
  26. Prancer

    Prancer Cursed for all time Staff Member

    I always got ours back; they usually didn't work any more, but I got them back :lol:. The teachers were always very strict about labeling and storing the headphones (lice fears more than any concerns about my wallet).

    I don't think we were asked to send them in any more after second grade; maybe we had to for third, but never after that.

    I went to several schools when I was growing up; I don't remember if I paid fees at all of them or not. But I KNOW I paid fees in high school and more than I pay for my kids now. I buy a lot more supplies for them, though. Given how much things have changed since I was in school, though, I think that's to be expected.
  27. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

    For the boxes of tissues, I can answer that one--two is not an unreasonable amount. That's how much most of the schools I've taught at required, and only one time did we not run out and need more. Tissue isn't just used for colds; it's also used for school projects...and for students to have an excuse to get out of their seats to get a piece of tissue. The other fees could be anything from workbooks (typically, the school pays a large portion of the cost, and the parent a smaller one--they're quite expensive), school newspaper, yearbook, any guest performances/speakers that come to the school, technology fee, toner for copies, paper for copies, etc.

    Not to bring this in the PI realm, but in many (not all) districts, voters have not voted in favor of educational taxes, so the money has to be made up somwhere. I do buy my personal supplies, and would NEVER ask a student to supply me with paper/pens/markers, but, I typically spend about $250 at the start of school on supplies and probably another 300-400 throughout the year.

    On another note, I don't like kids bringing in hand sanitizers--they just play with it, and it makes the desk greasy. And I have doubts about it being good for you.

    Your other issues I agree were out of line, but in this case, I beg to differ. That van was not free--it was paid for out of taxpayers' money. I'm not in any way, shape, or form begrudging the needs of students who have disabilities, be they physical, social, or cognitive, but let's be real here: a lot of money is spent on SPED/504/IDEA/ADA students that will never benefit the vast majority of kids. Equipment that cost thousands and thousands of dollars for the benefit of one or two children ever few years, special sensory rooms, special field trips, extra personnel, special comptuers and dictaphone-type equipment, all paid for with taxpayer dollars that most taxpayers' children will never enjoy. If every once in a while the situation is reversed, then I don't have a problem with it...just as I'm sure most parents didn't have a problem with your son getting the help he needed.
  28. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Methinks you missed the point ;)

    The bus was an expense that was being charged on a per/pupil basis. Children who didn't attend the field trip were not responsible for the costs of that trip because they didn't help incur additional uncovered costs that day. Similarly, my son didn't contribute to any additional uncovered costs that day either. Unlike school buses which are rented on a per/trip basis, the wheelchair vans are part of an annual contract that costs the district the same whether it's used one day a year or a thousand times a year. The point being there were no more tax dollars being used that day for my son.

    Many things in school are provided at taxpayer expense that many children, including my own, will never benefit from. My taxes pay for gym equipment--something my son will never get to use. My taxes pay for schoolyard jungle gyms and gymnasium upkeep that he will never use. He can't use drinking fountains, classroom computers, musical instruments, science equipment, or art supplies, but my tax dollars pay for all that nonetheless. And I assure you we don't get rebates because of my son's disability. We didn't even get a rebate for all the fundraisers we supported for the class trip that my son wasn't allowed to participate in because he was "too complicated." But my taxes and donations sure paid for all that stuff.
  29. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    I think the tissues are kind of silly to get worked up about, and I would not object to sending them. But, when my kids had a cold I sent them to school with their own tissues. As far as personal supplies - paper/pens/pencils, absolutely they get provided by the families.

    Ag, you know I love you, and I hate to say this, but I think she sort of nailed the point. There are times when we pay toward things that we do not benefit from. We take turns. The bus went the number of kids on it didn't change the cost. If some kids didn't go, they were exempt from paying at all. But the ones who did paid in full. FTR, my kids schools didn't do that, they allowed you to not pay for the bus if you didn't take it, but that is very unusual.

    We had a situation like that with our skating club's precision team. The team was going to a competition, a bus was rented. All of the team members were required to pay a flat fee. There was one skater who's father insisted on driving her, himself. We had rules about the team staying together, but we allowed him to drive her but told him they'd still have to pay toward the bus. He never did. That made them members "not in good standing" with the club. Testing and competing permission became an issue, and it created a nightmare for the kid. The father should have just paid the $50 and let it go. But he didn't and the club stuck to it's rules. I was not directly involved with the precision team, but was on the board. I didn't like that the father and the club put the kid in a bad situation, and actually this was one of the reasons I resigned my position, but....
  30. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    Yes, and I listed several examples of things we had to pay for which we didn't benefit from. I did that because there is a perception that children with special needs are resource sucks, but people don't realize how many resources such children are systematically excluded from using, but whose families still have to support with tax dollars. Nobody seems to take issue with that though--perhaps because the beneficiaries are non-disabled students and it's just assumed they are entitled to such resources. But heaven forbid tax monies be used to provide resources for disabled students.

    But as I said, that didn't apply in this situation because the teacher chose a transportation method that was wheelchair inaccessible and then expected us to pay for it. Why? Other options were available that would have allowed us to ride along, but she chose not to do that. So not only did she fail to make appropriate accommodations as she was legally required to do so my son could participate, she wanted him to pay for her not making those accommodations. I don't think so.

    And btw, other families who drove their kids to the field trip instead of riding on the bus didn't pay either, but I guess disabled families should be stuck with a special tax for being disabled :rolleyes:.
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