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….
Filed under: mom blog, mom trying to stay sane blog | Tagged: education costs, family, fees, first grade, kids, kindergarten, moms, money, motherhood, parenting, school, school funding, taxes | 17 Comments »