Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nickled and Dimed and Fed Up!

My children attend public school. PUBLIC. As in Free for All. But it is so damn expensive. Just this week-

-Food Pantry Day- If you bring in at least 3 boxes of cereal you can wear face paint to school. That's 12 boxes of cereal! Just so my kids can paint ($3 for face paint!) their faces like everyone else.

-Pennies for Books- On Monday you bring in lots of pennies. On Tuesday you bring in lots of nickles, on Wednesday, dimes, Thursday quarters and on Friday, you see where this is going, bills only. The class that brings in the most money gets to have their photo taken with the Assistant Principal dressed like Pippi Longstocking. Yeah, well. Except she weighs about 300lbs, so not exactly Pippi Longstocking. On that one the kids had to use their own money, thank you very much.

On Saturday we skipped the school "carnival" where it was encouraged that each student buy tickets in advance. $100 per kid being the recommended amount so they can participate in many of the activities.

You can't opt out of the book fair because it takes place during the school day when the kids attend library! Heck- Didn't we just send in "pennies" to buy books for said library? Again, I refused and the kids had to use their birthday money.

Sadly, the Friday night Pasta Dinner sold out before I got tickets. Boo-hoo. This is a fundraiser for the 5th grade. Generous tips are appreciated for the servers since the meal *only* costs $7 per person. I've heard parents dropping $100 bills for their children to serve them over cooked pasta. Jeez, it's about time the kids did some of the work!

Instrument rental is about $250/year but you buy the music books and stand. I'm sure he'll need more appropriate clothing come performance time.

For the little girls, the parents take turns brining in snack. This week is Finley's turn. This is the grocery list I was given-

2 packs 1 gallon zip lock bags
2 packs small bowls
2 hand sanitzer (of which we sent some in at the begining of the school year!)
4 packs of forks
4 packs of spoons
100 5 oz cups (For this price we could buy a set of coringware plates, silverware, cloth napkins and real glasses. Wouldn't that be 'using our resources wisely?')
2 packs of paper napkins
2 loaves of bread
2 red peppers
2 cans pineapple
1 jar applesauce
1 bag oranges
2 boxes each of graham cracker, ritz crackers and teddy grahams (Are they even still around?)
4 cans of non-frozen juice concentrate
1 tub of raisins

Cha-ching! $$

Oh, and $15 for image making day, $12 for the field trip to the museum and another $15 please for classroom supplies. Don't forget to send in two pumpkins per child and extra apples please for using in painting. It drives me batty. And we aren't even talking about the hours spent volunteering for things that I always thought the teachers did. Photocopying, laminating, cutting and stapling, measuring beans and corn, shelving library books, cleaning rooms and organizing supplies. (I'm not bad mouthing the teachers here. They have their hands full too. Heck, they've got my kids!) I guess I should be happy I can do these things, but today, I'm just feeling broke. And overwhelmed.

And frustrated when I learned that a neighbor just asks the school to waive all her fees and got free tickets for the carnival. Isn't it great that the school will support her in her time of need. NO! Her family takes two all-inclusive vacations a year where she proudly says she pays the extra money for a nanny so they can take advantage of the free drinks. She shops at the hoity-toity grocery store in town. I shop one town over where it is much cheaper, but you schlep your own groceries to the car. Her vacation consists of packing her kids off and enjoying the warmth of the beaches. My vacations consist of camping with the mosquitoes at Storyland.

Bleh. I am feeling pretty disgusted with my town, my neighbor but mostly with my miserable attitude about it. Sigh.... Thanks for letting me vent.


Natalie said...

Tell Finley to buy store-brand crackers. That might make her shopping list a little cheaper. And I'm pretty sure snack time when I was a kid didn't include red peppers.

I asked Natalie if we could just send one check the kiddo's school and then request that we not be constantly asked for donations and contributions. She said no. So this week it's another $4 for a Halloween party. We feel your pain.

miss jen said...

I felt broke when I read the list!
I thought my kids paid too much for the "extras" too, but it was no where near what your list costs!
Finleys list looks suspect to me. Is she a big eater who has wiped out the schools snack supply? Why don't they each bring in their own daily snack?
And since when are plastic forks and paper plates considered a snack? Those things are DISHES!
Good luck! Since the parents keep paying, the system won't change.

Uncle Larry said...

How do you measure beans and corn, and why ? 4 in. string beans this pile,6 in.string beans that pile ?
I guess there's a lot I don't understand about raising children these days. GOOD LUCK !

Sarah said...

So sorry to hear all that! Public school funding is ripping most of us off, often because the money goes to support sports programs (at least here in Idaho). I am so glad you posted this because I'd forgotten what the $$ pressure was like and was considering enrolling my kids for next year. Guess we'll just keep homeschooling!!