WTF, Chuck: School fees?

Note: WTF, Chuck? is an ongoing, though limited, series of articles in which staff writer, Chuck, replies to questions submitted by our readers.

A reader writes:

Dear Chuck,

WTF is up with these school registration fees? I registered my daughter for middle school and the fees came out to be over $100. This was in addition to the two page list of school supplies her teachers required.

Who regulates these fees? How is this money accounted for?

All the teacher could tell me was that some of it was for a planner, some was for a t-shirt, and some was for classroom supplies and other activities.

I’m sure it won’t be long before the fundraising packets start coming home, too. We’ll be selling wrapping paper, cookie dough and anything else they can think of.

I know all they have to say is, “it’s for the children” and people feel like they can’t complain but these fees are ridiculous. I already pay taxes to support the schools. If what these fees are paying for is truly needed for educating the kids, then shouldn’t the schools provide them with existing funds?

So help us out here, Chuck, WTF is up with these school fees?


A Baldwin County Parent

Dear ABCP,

With kids just returning to school this week, this is a very timely letter. I’m glad you sent this in. If a school has a population of $500 (which is low for some of Baldwin schools) that would be $50,000. For a large high school that could be over $150,000. That’s quite a revenue source.

Are you sure it was over $100? That seems like alot of money for scissors, glue and markers. And chances are they’ll probably just try to cut each other with the scissors after they finish eating the glue and sniffing the markers. Maybe that teacher tricked you in to paying her AEA union dues?

From talking to a few parents with little people in the Baldwin County Public Schools, they say the cost is usually between $40 and $60 depending on grade level.

I see several options for you, ABCP:

  1. Don’t pay it. What are they gonna do? They can’t call Junior out and prevent him from eating the glue and sniffing the markers. That would ruin his self esteem. This is America! Kids are as entitled to stuff as their parents are.
  2. Start a “Pay as You Learn” campaign. Assess the kids a daily fee based on how much they learn. Many would never pay a dime.
  3. Appoint a dog as interim principal at each school (after the elections, of course). Kids who don’t pay the fees? Beware of dog.
  4. Ask for a donation from Silverhill or your local city government
  5. Home school the little punks
  6. Take it out of their allowance

Let’s hear from some of our readers on this topic.

How much were the fees at your kids’ schools? What are the fees used for?

Any teachers or principals out there reading the Baldwin Report? Who decides what the fees will be? Who’s accountable for all this money?