Friday, August 01, 2008

I love Indiana, but..

A free education should be kind of free right? I understand that educations are expensive. I agree that if I want those extra classes for my kids that are a bit expensive to fund, that I should pitch in a little. If I don't pay for the extra, I shouldn't get them.

Youngest to oldest, this is what I am required to pay for my children to get a basic education:


My 4th Grader:

locker $0.00Technology $0.00Materials $0.00Planner $0.00
Description

BooksConsFeesTotal
Language Arts

$13.25$12.96$0.00$26.21
Music

$8.68$0.00$0.00$8.68
Math

$17.00$7.26$0.00$24.26
Sciene

$10.60$2.00$0.00$12.60
Social Studies

$9.25$0.00$0.00$9.25
Art Fee

$0.00$0.00$3.00$3.00
Swimming Fee

$0.00$0.00$2.50$2.50
Weekly Reader

$0.00$0.00$4.50$4.50
Paper Fee

$0.00$0.00$13.00$13.00
Recorder

$0.00$0.00$6.00$6.00
Planner

$0.00$0.00$5.00$5.00
Trade Books

$0.00$0.00$10.00$10.00
Homework Folder

$0.00$0.00$1.00$1.00
Total

$58.78$22.22$45.00$126.00





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$126.00


My 6th Grader:

Locker $0.00Technology $0.00Materials $0.00Planner $0.00
Description

BooksConsFeesTotal
Language Arts

$13.25$6.00$0.00$19.25
Music

$9.12$0.00$0.00$9.12
Math

$14.50$0.00$0.00$14.50
Science

$11.67$2.00$0.00$13.67
Social Studies

$10.46$0.00$0.00$10.46
Art Fee

$0.00$0.00$3.00$3.00
Swimming Fee

$0.00$0.00$2.50$2.50
Paper Fee

$0.00$0.00$13.00$13.00
Time For Kids

$0.00$0.00$1.50$1.50
Planner

$0.00$0.00$5.00$5.00
Trade Book

$0.00$0.00$10.00$10.00
Homework Folder

$0.00$0.00$1.00$1.00
Total

$59.00$8.00$36.00$103.00





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$103.00


My 8th Grader:

Locker $5.00Technology $0.00Materials $4.00Planner $6.00
Class

BooksConsFeesTotal
Term 1
04608 SCIENCE 8

$8.10

$8.10
04208 ENGLISH/LA 8

$9.63

$9.63
25088 PRE-ALG A (8)

$5.65

$5.65
53648 INT.PER.REL. (8)

$2.70
$3.00$5.70
0458G GIRLS'P.E.8




$0.00
04708 SOC. ST. 8

$8.50

$8.50
0440A JH BA/CH




$0.00
0440A JH CH/BA




$0.00
0108 BULLDOG TIME 8




$0.00



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$34.58$0.00$3.00$37.58
Term 2
04608 SCIENCE 8

$8.10$0.50$3.00$11.60
04208 ENGLISH/LA 8

$9.63$22.75$14.50$46.88
25088 PRE-ALG A (8)

$5.65
$5.00$10.65
53648 INT.PER.REL. (8)

$2.70
$3.00$5.70
0458G GIRLS'P.E.8



$13.00$13.00
04708 SOC. ST. 8

$8.50$1.50$1.00$11.00
0440A JH BA/CH



$10.00$10.00
0440A JH CH/BA



$10.00$10.00
0108 BULLDOG TIME 8



$5.00$5.00



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$34.58$24.75$64.50$123.83





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$176.41


My 11th Grader:

Locker $5.00Technology $0.00Materials $4.00Planner $6.00
Class

BooksConsFeesTotal
Term 1
3024 BIOLOGY 1

$8.73

$8.73
1542 U.S. HISTORY

$8.10

$8.10
0100 STUDY HALL




$0.00
4182 CONC. CHOIR




$0.00
2520B ALGEBRA I(B)

$5.65

$5.65
3044 EARTH/SPACE SCIENCE

$8.45

$8.45
4530 COMP.APPL.I

$7.45
$6.00$13.45



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$38.38$0.00$6.00$44.38
Term 2
3024 BIOLOGY 1

$8.73$0.50$10.00$19.23
1542 U.S. HISTORY

$8.10

$8.10
0100 STUDY HALL




$0.00
4182 CONC. CHOIR



$20.00$20.00
2520B ALGEBRA I(B)

$5.65
$2.00$7.65
3044 EARTH/SPACE SCIENCE

$8.45$1.65
$10.10
1548A W.HISTORY/CIV (A)

$7.25

$7.25



----------------------------------------
Subtotal

$38.18$2.15$32.00$72.33





Adjustments$0.00





Payments$0.00





Balance$131.71


This does not include school supplies or clothing, uniforms for Physical Education, special calculators for math or any goodies, mind you. This is the fee every Indiana resident above the poverty level pays to put their kids in school after they buy the required 1 spiral notebook per class, 2 boxes of crayons, 15 glue sticks, colored pencils, colored markers, colored erasers and two very large boxes of tissues per child. The book fees are book rental fees, I might add. If your child loses one, they owe an additional $10-50. We don't get to KEEP the books. We pay to BORROW them. Cons = Consumables. In the past it has been a copy of a worksheet out of a workbook. The kids don't really get the whole workbook, just copies of the pages the teacher assigns. I am assuming that consumable is the estimated toner/paper usage my child will need throughout the year.

I have put children in school in Virginia, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and now Indiana. The only state that has ever charged me fees to enroll my children in public school has been Indiana. I would have no reason to complain if the differences between the free public education and the not so free public education were stark, but in all honesty, Indiana only has a marginal advantage over Nevada according to the NCES. I am pretty happy about my $537.12 book fee bill. Last year it was over $700 for the same 4 children because they consumed a heck of a lot of consumables. I almost did a dance for joy at the $200 savings!

Our school wants to put in a new auditorium for the combined Elementary/Jr. High/High School productions. I would love for our tax money to go to something that doesn't wrap around our football field. While I understand there are dreams of an NFL superstar that comes from our wonderful field, I would be just as proud of a great musician or perhaps even a great actor headed to Broadway. My question has always been: Why oh why are the taxes I pay not paying for the books our kids need to get a basic education? Why are we debating if tax dollars should go for new bleachers or auditoriums when the books are not even being paid for? Good Lord!

I love Indiana, but the way they treat education is pretty screwed up.

3 comments:

The Fearless Blog said...

I must admit I am surprised at the fees imposed by the state of Indiana. But, then upon further analysis I can't help but compare my own experience here in Florida. Just a few days ago, I heard that although the rest of the country may not yet be in a recession, Florida finds itself in one. The housing collapse, the loss of jobs in the construction field, high gas prices and the rising inflation has affected the people of Florida immensely. However, in my district public schools offer relatively a good education without the fees you outlined. Yet, my property taxes in Florida are four times my property taxes in North Carolina where we own property as well.

If I am paying more in taxes in Fl, then I guess that means you and I are still in similar circumstances; I just pay the fees "another way."

I have chosen to enroll my children in charter schools, private schools which receive state funding, so they follow the public school schedule and curriculum. Because my boys attend a charter school, I do have to volunteer 30 hours for each child every year; otherwise I have to pay the school approximately 150 dollars for each child. Either way, I pay. This is acceptable for me because the school offers an excellent education program and my children are better protected and carefully supervised.

Forgive me if I am a little cynical here, but there is nothing "free" in this country, well except for love and that can be argued. If I have access to excellent roads and expressways, parks, schools, or if I have access to excellent waste management or water and so forth it is because I "pay" for it through taxes, tolls or special fees embedded in fancy legal language. I don't mind "paying." What I do mind is paying for something and getting nothing or little in return.

When it comes to education, we must all be vigilant and proactive. I am curious to know how your state pays for education and how much the officials allocate per child. You should have access to that report. It would be interesting to compare from state to state.

Very interesting post, very informative. Thanks for sharing.

Anna Sellers said...

I agree that we are probably paying in a method that is not as easy for our family. The other thing to note is that education being paid for in this way is not being shared across the board, it is giving those who have no children a bit of a "tax break". Since a large portion of those people are elderly, I don't want to argue my way into taking away their benefits. I do respect my elders.

I do believe that giving our children a good education helps the community as a whole, so if I had to help give money to the school after my youngest graduates, I don't believe I would grumble too loudly.

What this school DOES have going for it is that our crime rate is nearly non-existant. We don't have a lot of social problems getting in the way of education. Minorities are treated equally. The morality of the student body is high. All of the things you might shop for in a private school are a given in this public school. The catch - You must own a house in the middle of the corn. My children are fortunate in this respect. I cannot say that about some of the other schools who's parents are shelling out the same amount of money per child. That is probably the most unfair part about it.

The Fearless Blog said...

Hi Anna

"it is giving those who have no children a bit of a "tax break" "--true in your state but obviously not in mine. Here everybody pays and therefore those with no children are receiving no "tax breaks."

Everything has its pros and cons I suppose. In the end, as you point out, you benefit from a "strong" school system even if it means living in the middle of the corn. If I had to choose between cheaper/weaker or expensive/stronger...well you know what I would choose. The most significant thing is that "we" have choices. Unfortunately, "choice" is not available in other parts of the world. That is why this nation is so great. But that is a whole other discussion we will leave for another day. Thank you for this most thought provoking post.