Increasing back-to-school costs affecting teachers, students, families
Tax-free weekends and discount store specials on pencils and glue sticks can help defray the cost of sending kids back to school, but it doesn’t do enough.
School supply budget cut a factor
The National Retail Federation expects a 12 percent increase from last year in the amount that families will spend on school supplies, from $90.49 to $101.18. Two main influencers are driving up the costs of going back to school, but that doesn’t change the fact that parents will be struggling to pay for their students’ school supplies this year more than ever.
One factor in the rising cost of school supplies is that schools are starting to ask for school supplies. “’I know it may seem ludicrous and a bit ridiculous, but we go through a lot, mainly pencils, and the name brands, like Crayola, hold up better. We know they will last all year,’” said Mandy Taylor, a sixth grade teacher in the Phoenix area, according to CronkiteNewsOnline.com. School districts cut school supply budgets in an effort to avoid laying off faculty and staff, reports CNBC.com.
Electronic gadgets chunk of expenditure
In addition, the rising use of electronics in the classroom means that students must spend more on supplies like calculators and USB drives. The National Retail Federation expects sales of electronics to increase by 7 percent from last year, to an average of $212.35 per family, compared to $199.05 last year.
Some parents, like Carly Tatroe, was quoted as being “’shocked’” when she found out that she had to pay $125 in school supplies last year for her then-eighth-grade daughter in a CronkiteNewsOnline.com article because the school gave every student an iPad. Parents may not be aware that many such technology upgrades at schools are the result of very specific grants.
Teachers helping with supplies
Filling the gap for students who cannot afford to pay for the items they need for schools are nonprofit organizations and teachers themselves. For example, Cradles to Crayons in Boston expects that it will likely give out 71,000 supply-filled backpacks, compared to 53,000 last year.
Teacher Elizabeth Pitula, a charter school teacher in New York City, told CNBC.com that she spends approximately $200 of her own money each year on school supplies for her classroom, and Mandy Taylor, the sixth grade teacher quoted earlier, says she spends about $500 of her own money on her classroom for school supplies and inspirational posters.
How much do you spend on school supplies a year?