Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Public school student? Bring your own supplies

June 23, 2010

schoolboyI have no children and I left the public school system in 1991, so perhaps it’s not news to some of you that parents of public school children are paying for things that we never would have dreamed we’d pay for when I was in school. To OfficeMax Chief Operating Officer Sam Martin, who visited our Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit on Wednesday, this stuff is no surprise at all because he’s the one selling it to the parents.

On his short list of products that parents in some school districts are paying for: markers, chalk, tissues, paper towels.

Seriously? Why? “I think the budgets of local schools are pressured,” Martin said. “The trend started a year ago. I expect to see it expand.”

And are parents, as one of my colleagues asked, down with that? “Whether they’re down with that depends on the mom. I know I supply a lot for my son.”

I graduated from Haddonfield Memorial High School in New Jersey at a time when the school board paid for our mimeograph machine out of its taxpayer-funded coffers, so it’s easy to see that I’m out of touch. Parents, please tell me, what are you paying for at your kids’ public schools that my parents never would have dreamed of financing? Please let me know.

(Photo: Reuters)

Comments

I have 2 daughters in public school in Ohio and we have purchased all of the above items as well as about a dozen more per child. There is also a $20/child supply fee. It frustrates me on 1 hand, but I sort of understand on another. Everyone pays property taxes that contribute to funding the schools. However, not everyone has school aged children. My father is the president of the school board of a district in PA and he approaches it like a business. Yes, the kids need educated to the best of our abilites, but you cannot spend more than you bring in. I wonder how many school districts truely follow a budget. We recently got our financial report from our district and we are indeed spending more than we bring in. In a perfect world, we could reign that in quickly, but who am I kidding? There’s far to much red tape to go through to fix the outstanding problem.

Posted by MamaC326 | Report as abusive
 

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