They always say that you don’t see yourself the same way that others do, but do I look like a friggin’ ATM machine to you?  I don’t have a drive-thru lane, I don’t require a pin number, and I most certainly don’t regurgitate money.  So, why is it then that every time I turn around, someone is expecting me to shoot out money left and right?  I thought we sent our kids to public schools since that is what our hard-earned tax dollars go to support.  Ha!  So much for that theory.  

     Last year at the end of kindergarten, we were sent an order form for school supplies for the next year.  Each kid’s kit cost a whopping fifty bucks and included such randomly stupid things as Clorox wipes and boxes of Kleenex, which by the way, why am I paying for cleaning supplies and tissues for little Joe Schmoe’s boogers?  In addition to the supply list fees, we were also expected to pay $155 per kid for an “instructional materials fee,” which is about as clear to me as a window smeared with mud.  Since I have twins, that meant that my total was actually going to be $310.  I don’t know about you, but that seems like a shitload of money to me to shell out for something so obscure.  I decided to shoot an email to the district office for a better explanation of just what that particular fee covered.  The response I got back was, “It’s to cover the materials that are used in the classroom.”  Oh, well thanks for that completely vague explanation and for not clearing that up for me whatsoever. That would be like asking someone what a stop sign is, and they tell you it’s a sign that stops.  What the hell?!  Apparently, that was code for, “we don’t have a friggin’ clue what it covers.”  I actually waited until just yesterday to finally pay this ridiculous fee because I have such a problem with it.  I was hesitant because it makes me wonder if it’s really helping to fund some big wig’s luxury car or vacation home somewhere in the tropics.  I finally bit the bullet and paid, though, since I didn’t want my kids to be kicked out for being illegal aliens.

     And thank God we only live a few blocks from the elementary school so that we can walk.  When my kids get to middle school, though, they’ll take the bus, which costs a colossal $300 per kid!  I find this insanely expensive.  There was absolutely no fee at all to ride the bus when I was in school.  But apparently, I’m expected to shell out hundreds of dollars a year for my kids to bounce up and down and all around on a rectangular box on wheels, all while praying that they don’t fly right out of those pitifully unsafe lap belts.  Yeah, that’s really worth all that dough all right.    

     In addition to the school fees, there’s also all the millions of after-school activity costs.  I am flabbergasted by how people are able to afford to put their kids in five thousand different sports and activities. I mean seriously, each activity is anywhere from $75-$150, plus the cost of any extra equipment that is needed.  That adds up to a lot of freaking dough!  My kids would probably sign up for every possible thing under the moon if I’d let them, but I don’t.   I usually allow them to do two after-school activities at a time, and I think that’s more than enough.  They’re only gonna be six once in their lives, and they need some time to enjoy it.  (And I need some money to pay for it!)

     When I look at families around here who have four, five or even six kids, I am completely baffled.  I honestly don’t know how they do it. It makes me wonder if my kids’ friends’ moms are pimping themselves out on the street corner at night or if perhaps they’ve got Tony Soprano on their side.  Whatever the case, it’s becoming more and more clear to me that there really is no such thing as a free education.  Even though our property taxes are insanely high, we still are expected to dig even deeper in our pockets for all kinds of other school-related crap.  I really wish that old money tree in the backyard wouldn’t have dropped dead on us.  In the meantime, I guess I’d better go stake out my corner with all the other suburban hos….


17 Responses

  1. You have to pay to have your kids ride the bus?? That is INSANE.

  2. Ok, so I’m in IL too. My son goes to public school. I ONLY paid $90 for registration. The “tool kit” (overly priced school supplies) was an optional thing and I didn’t purchase it.

    I am shocked that they are charging you $155 per kid. As well as charging you for the bus ride.

  3. You have to pay for a public school’s bus???? What??? I have never heard of that before?

    Is this private or public school?

    Never heard of $155 extra you have to pay.


  4. I would not have paid the “instructional materials fee”. Seriously. What were they going to do? They can’t kick your kids out or refuse to instruct them. First they ask you for a ton of supplies, then they want you to provide them with teaching materials, too? That’s insane! Also when we do supplies if they ask for two of anything I only send one. I tell my kids if they use it up to let me know so I can replace it. Ridiculous.

    At my school they have TWO different individual photo sessions. One where they send home the order sheet and I pay for and order what I want. Then a second one where they don’t ask if I want any, they just take them and then send them home with a package and list of what it costs to keep which pictures. Guess what? I keep the package and don’t pay them a dime. They’re just gonna throw them out anyway and I never requested the second set to begin with. It’s a waste!

    (KBnB on twitter)

  5. Wow, sounds like highway robbery to me. We get my daughter school supplies, but it’s a relatively inexpensive list of items. Bus rides are free, and my older kids play hockey but thru a private organization and not the school district. The rec programs around here are pretty inexpensive, but are limited and none exist for my younger children. I will, however, be totally screwed when all 4 of my cherubs are playing hockey at the same time ( the discount kicks in when we have 3 playing, but it will mean all 4 of them are playing at once). Thank goodness we can hand down some of the kids equipment. It’s too cold to go hang out on the street corner with the other hos and the clientele would be a bit rough around the edges here.

    Oh and we have the multiple photo sessions here too and the prices are RIDICULOUS so we only pay in the fall for the photos and send them back in the spring. It would be great if they offered the photos a la carte instead of high priced packages.

    Good lord I’m rambling.

  6. do you pay book rental??? we do here i rush co indiana. within that fee there is a charge for consumables…ie workbooks etc. it also covers 1/6 of the cost of a book (the corporation uses the books for 6 years) It is approximately seventy to one hundred bucks per kid. that’s our “free” education:)

    I feel your pain, but as a teacher I see the other side too. I ask parents to send clorox wipes and lysol. we clean our desks and everything we touch every day. I’m doing what I can to prevent the piggy flu. I can’t afford to buy them all…and the school system won’t.

    I sympathize with you, but also I know that teachers pay A LOT of out of pocket money for their classrooms. I can’t tell you how many kids don’t come to school with supplies…

    btw…love your blog:)

    • I completely know where you’re coming from as far as teachers paying out of pocket. I used to be a teacher too before kids, and I often spent my own money to buy extra things for the kids. (And I worked at a Catholic school, so I was literally making PEANUTS!) It’s pathetic that schools don’t have better funding to cover all the things they need. It’s also really pathetic that we pay a freaking arm & a leg in property taxes here & are still expected to shell out even more money for our kids to go to a public school. Anyway, thanks so much for reading & for commenting. Hope you come back & visit me again soon! 🙂

  7. The supply, school and activity fees just about kill us each year at this time, not to mention that both of my kids’ birthdays are in September! I do, however, sympathize with teachers like Angie (above comment). I know someone who took a teacher friend of his out shopping in August where she spent $800 of her own money on supplies to help the less advantaged kids who show up for school without what they need to take part in class. When I heard that, it really put my own situation into perspective. Teachers have my heartfelt respect for what they do for our kids.

  8. I loved the whole post, but when I read the last line, I almost choked on my smoothie. You are hilarious.

    • Ha! Thanks for reading & sorry to almost make you choke! Wouldn’t want to harm anyone in the process of trying to make them laugh. Hope to keep you coming back for more — maybe don’t drink anything while reading next time just to be on the safe side…. 🙂

  9. Wow, here in NEPA, parents don’t have to pay the schools for anything. The only thing you have to pay for, is if you need things for after school sports or anything like that. Of course, some the text books we use, my mom used when she was in school. In high school I actually had a history book that had an amendment written in LOL. They have slowly been getting new books here, but they don’t beleive in charging the parents for things that should be included in public school. The bus is free too. Then again, most people around here don’t make a lot of money.

  10. We’re a military family of four boys (including twins), living in Illinois. Before we were stationed here, I had never, EVER heard of tuition for public schools, book fees, activity fees, transportation fees, etc.

    I know for a fact that, according to the federal Department of Education that, “Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate education.” So what’s up with all the charges for attending a public school system?

    What’s more is that we do not have the opportunity to claim these tuition credits on our taxes because we’re military, and don’t actually own land in our district. However, to offset this fact, the government reimburses the schools that military children attend. Upwards of $1,500 per student, per year. And, we’re still having to pay tuition? I don’t think so.

    So, the district my children attend has received $6,000 from the federal government, PLUS $2,600 from this family of four so that my children can attend public school. That’s just not right!

    I am more than happy to help out their classrooms with the much needed supplies to prevent teachers from paying out-of-pocket, but the fees we pay do not go to the teachers at all . . . they go to the district. The teachers still have to pay to stock their classrooms with the necessary supplies.

    Just so you know . . . I have dibs on Green Bay Road from Clavey to Westleigh! Gonna find me a Jewish Sugah Daddy! :o)~

    • Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talkin’ ’bout! The fees don’t go to the teachers who deserve WAY more money than they’re paid — and I know, cause I used to be one of those teachers making peanuts for pay. It would help if an explanation were given as to exactly where all these “fees” go. But, I guess that would be too easy, now, wouldn’t it?!

  11. I think the real question here, is what do suburban hos where? Leopard print twinsets? fishnets under their mom jeans?

    • Ha ha! That is a good point — I’ll do a fashion report from the suburban ho corner & get back to you….

  12. LOL at Kate’s comment!

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