Editor's Note (The View From Here)

School Year Begins!

Exciting, But Expensive for Many

It’s September! By the time you receive this issue, all of our nation’s school children will have returned to class. Hopefully, this is seen as an exciting time for the teachers, students and parents, but it can also be expensive.

According to estimates by the National Retail Federation (NRF), college back-to-school shopping will be at its highest level—ever. They also estimate that spending for school-age kids will be among the three highest years on record.

The estimates are based on the results of an annual survey conducted in August of each year. The results indicate that around $2.75 billion will be spent on K-12 students, and college student-related purchased will total about $55.3 billion. That adds up to $82.8 billion. The items families purchase range from typical school supplies and laptop computers to school uniforms. (If you want to see the compete survey results, visit nrf.com).

But families aren’t the only people spending money at the beginning of the school year. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the results of a survey in May that shows that 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money to prepare for classes. Results show that among teachers who spent any of their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement, the average amount spent was $479, and the median amount spent was $297. About 44 percent spent $250 or less, while 36 percent spent from $251 to $500.

And that is not all. School Library Journal recently conducted a non-scientific poll on Facebook of school librarians and library media specialists and found that respondents reported they spent between $500 and $3,000 for used books, pens, paper, markers, bins, bulletin board display supplies, and STEM items.

It’s common knowledge that none of these people are making large salaries. At the least, they deserve recognition and our gratitude for their sacrifice. Maybe we should also consider helping them by contributing to non-profit organizations that assist in covering the costs of supplying their classrooms. You can do a web search of “websites to help teachers fund everything” to get a basic list.

A reminder, you can follow me on Twitter, @SPM_editor, and you are always welcome to contact me with your thoughts and ideas at jenderle@1105media.com.

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of School Planning & Management.

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