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August 27th, 2009
07:49 AM ET

Back to school getting too expensive?

It’s that time of year! A brand new school year with brand new supplies. But it’s not just books and pencils that parents need to worry about. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/08/07/swine.flu.h1n1.schools/art.school.daj.gi.jpg caption="Is going back to school getting to expensive?"]

How about those  graphing calculators, rolling backpacks, snacks and even hand sanitizer on your school supply lists?  We want to hear from you. Is “back to school” getting too expensive? What did you spend? Was it more than last year or did the tough economy force you to tighten your belt on school supplies? Give us your feedback.


Filed under: Anchors • Heidi Collins
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    It was hard enough trying to put kids thru school before the recession but now almost half the country is without jobs and the school clothes and supplies are the same price and higher its time the government starts supplying some of these extra needs.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  2. Chrissy

    I'm not a parent but I'm dating a parent who has four children. His children go to a public school in an affluent suburb. He says that one child's list of things the school says she need is over $200. I am 42 years old and this blows me away. Notebooks and folders and pens and markers etc are over $200???? What do these children need to learn other than that?? I would love to see this list.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  3. Casey

    I started college as a freshman this week, and nearly bankrupted myself buying textbooks. For only four classes, my books costed nearly $500. I don't know how these schools expect some students to be able to afford these things.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  4. Jessica

    Back to school too expensive? Um...YEAH! I got my bachelors degree in 2005 and I'm going to start a two year program for my masters in January...it's going to cost me 60,000 total and that's not including supplies, books, etc...ridiculous. Of course I'll have to take out a loan...it's unbelievable to me that to be educated you have to go into so much debt.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  5. Dot Nelson Turnier

    We live in Texas and there is always a big push to bring down property taxes, which is what pays for our schools. So a few years ago, we got a property tax cut, but school supply expenses at least make up the difference. In some of our schools, the textbooks are only available in the library. Kids can take them out and bring them home for homework, but there are a limited number of them. The schools in general need more money, not less, and we (the parents) end up paying it anyway in school supplies, school fundraisers etc.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:54 am |
  6. kevin kratsch

    google edu.gov find programs. there are quite a few grants and loan programs the largest being "Pell" for displaced workers.
    I received 3 grants (and i am still applying for more) so i can study full time and not have to work(i am 55).

    August 27, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  7. Mary

    I have two children that just went back to school this week. I will tell you that I started saving money out of my pay check four weeks ahead of time so that I could just barely buy the supplies and a few pieces of clothing for the children. I had to borrow some money that I would have put on bills so that I could accomodate my kids and their school needs. On top of the school supply issues, you still have to buy daily snacks and stuff for lunches because school lunches are not all that cheap either for the kids to eat daily. I really hope things get better soon. As a parent you should never have to tell your children you can't afford the things they need.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  8. Dan

    My parents had to pay for my school books and they had to pay nearly $500. And that's without the back to school items!

    August 27, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  9. Kimberley

    I am a mom with four children in school. Two in high school and two in middle school. I have used the layaway programs previous and had no problem with them. It allowed me to buy the needed items my children needed for school and clothing that fit my children. My husband and I have watched over the last 20 years (7 children total) as the list of what parents MUST provided has grown every year, costing more and more. It is getting out of control. So any assistance and program in this depressed economy is welcome and needed.

    August 27, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  10. Dan

    Last year we spent nearly $500 on books at the local book stores near my daughter's university. This year, we found almost all of the her books online. We were able to cut the expense in half!

    I also have a question. Do parents find it more or less cost effective for kids to live on campus or in an apartment off campus?

    August 27, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  11. Shelby Olivier

    I absolutely think back to school expenses are outrageous. Now granted I am not a parent I am a college student so I don't have first hand experience of paying for all the "necessities" of going back to school but I do remember what it was like when I was younger and my parents had to take me out to five different stores to get everything on my list. Now it's become a "need" to buy brand new clothes, brand new shoes, a new backpack/lunch box every year-not to mention the actual school SUPPLIES which I also question as being "necessary" or not. Most teachers make a list of things that are required for students to have on the first day of school. I understand the difficult situation this may put a parent in if they don't have unlimited funds (which is most of us, isn't it?) When you tell your child no they get all upset thinking they'll be the ONLY one at school without brand new clothes and all the coolest supplies-so if you don't have all kinds of money to spend on this event, you feel guilty for sending your child to school without all the "accoutrement".

    August 27, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  12. Barbara Love

    Yes it's getting ridiculously expensive...the first few days of school the teacher sends home a list of "must haves" for us to purchase....it's a huge list – some of which never even get used during the year. However, what gets me is they will list "kleenex" for the teachers rooms...last year a child who couldn't afford to buy kleenex for the room didn't purchase any....she had his name on a list...so when he sneezed and coughed and needed a kleenex she said no you cannot have a kleenex to use since you didn't not purchase any! I was so infuriariated when my 8th grader came home to tell me this! How embarressing for that child! Also, the teachers decided to have us purchase a seperate ring bind folder for each class (when they switch classes) and wouldn't let the kids use their all-in-one binders! So we went out and purchase one for each classroom with a folder, paper, pencil holder, etc....a seperate holder meant you needed all new supplies in each folder which got VERY expensive....but we did and then the teachers decided it wasn't working....they said, ok go back to using your binders...I could have told them that in the first place!

    August 27, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  13. Robin Cunningham

    Back to school costs have become more burdensome. Every year for each child we're buying items, such as scissors, rulers, paintbrushes, colored pencils, sets of markers, and packages of erasers that could and should last many years. Instead, these items become property of the classroom. And rather than taking ownership of their supplies, kids lack respect for these materials and I've witnessed their deliberate demolition. There are lessons being lost in how to take care of things, not to mention the flagrant waste, and who can afford it?

    Thanks for letting me get this off my chest!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  14. Doug Lee

    Heidi,
    Going back to school after 30 years was a goal I had for years.
    I decided to do just that and after the government said they'd lend me the money. Along the way I saw the bill was up to $12,000 after only 8 months! then after completion, would be well over $24,000 for an Associates degree! I'd be a century or more paying the thing off! I left the program. Yes, too expensive! I'm 60 years young.
    Thanks, Doug Lee

    August 27, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  15. Cory

    Expensive? You have no clue! I have $80K student debt after finishing my Master's, and I am starting my PhD classes today. The Govt will own me and my granchildren!

    At this point, I have to get my PhD in order to make enough to pay back my previous loans. These totals also don't include my wife's loans.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  16. Whitney

    I am a college student and just for this semester I spent over $600 on text books alone. Because of this I keep reusing notebooks from previous semesters so I don't have to buy new ones. Text book costs are sky rocketing.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  17. Nicole Rogers

    Good Morning!
    I have a junior in AP Classes and a college student between supplies ,clothes, and books and the expensive
    calculators needed for math very expensive!!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  18. mary

    I have a 3rd and 5th grader. I spent around $300 for back to school supplies . When school starts back they bomb bard you with fundraisers , extra classroom supply needs , and numerous after school activities and fees . All this at once is hard . We have tried to make this all work . We have not bought much new school clothes and what we have bought has been second hand . I did not buy name brand school supplies and i usually buy extra for the teachers to have but i couldn't this year . We are pinching where we can so our children have a great year .

    August 27, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  19. Steven

    This year has been extra expensive, because not only do I have to buy the usual things, i also have to pay for my son to go to gym class. We also have to pay for after school activities like football, and drama club.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  20. Jerry

    I did what I had to do this year as a single father. I scrounged leftovers from last year and sent him off. I did finally have the opportunity to go to our local Wally World and pick up the things he was missing. Now I only have to worry about paying for lunch, sports, book fee's, etc.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  21. Marie G

    One reason back to school is so expensive is due to the perception that one needs to buy a whole new wardrobe, new office supplies, and new technology just to get by. But books are by far the most expensive required items, one used book I recently purchased cost $35! With all the advertising, back to school is practically becoming a potential revenue-increasing season for businesses comparable to christmas! just unbelievable.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  22. juice1

    Its not the supplies or anything its actually paying for school. It will put you deep in debt jus to cover tuition that's not including living expenses. Then when you get out you have to worry about getting a job which is almost impossible in this economy

    August 27, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  23. Denise

    Too expensive is an undestatement. I spent less money in one year of homeschool than I have for the first few days of back to school. We bought our childern the very minimal amount of supplies they needed for back to school, with intentions of "buying as we go." Needless to say theschool is demanding nearl $20/ child for gym clothes by Friday and $3/ student for lockers. My son signe up for band, we have a drum set. We found out this week that ALL 6th grades must pick a wind instrument.

    As for the comments about Lay Away. I honestly think part of the problem with credit was that stores stopped offering Lay Away in the 90's and began offering credit cards instead. Most people looking for Lay Away live pay check to pay check. Extra money isn't availiabe so it works to have Lay Way and even better you actually have to save and pay for the items before "Owning" them.
    YES its not a shock to me that people are using it for back to school. My mother did for years...well before it was no longer an option at our local big box store. As a lower middle class income American, I am HAPPY that Lay Away is back and better than ever.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  24. Joel

    Back to school is certainly getting more expensive. My wife and I have a 3 mo, 14 mo, a 5 yo and an 8 yo. My 5 yo. just started K with his older sister in 2nd grade. My wife and I have spent well over $120 (with purchasing things on sale/coupons). I didn't complain about the hand soap or hand sanitizer or any of the extras that will keep good hygene in school but I did have a problem with purchasing pens for corrections. Whats on the list next year chaulk for the class room and coffee for the teachers lounge? N.C.'s "Educational Lottery" is obviously not helping those that need it in this cash strapped economy.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  25. kona owens

    I'm a second year college student and just this semester I used $800 on textbooks and about $250 just on things I needed for the classes. This is ridiculous, how can you spend over a thousand dollars just on books. Its all for one four month semester god knows what I'll spend next semester. If the economy is down the students shouldn't be the ones to suffer. No store I've gone in has been cheap from Wal-Mart to Target. I don't know what the people of America are going to do? I don't know what I'm going to do. I knew college was expensive but this is just wrong.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  26. Susan W. Johnson

    Heidi, yes, it is becoming too expensive. I have an unemployed husband, money is very tight right now, and our cost, for our 8th grader, at Office Depot, was just under $140.00. When the cashier announced the total, I just about went into cardiac arrest. And we didn't buy anything above and beyond, just everything on the list. Yikes! -Susan in TX

    August 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  27. marian

    Sometimes that is only way people get to buy things they need to get their stuff for school in this hard times where money is limited and jobs are few.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  28. Hans Kindt

    Yes – absolutely -. rent, food, and gasoline costs have risen significantly while wages have remained static and jobs are scarce. Meanwhile college and textbook costs have soared astronomically. At the same time, there are more students than ever before and therefore fewer spaces and more competition for those fewer spaces in school AND the fewer jobs available. All this at a time when America's ability to compete and our standing in the world economy is in question. NOT a pretty picture at all.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  29. andrea

    Growing up lay-a-way has always been a way for me to have gotten school clothes. I had one parent working and they were smart enough to use credit cards for emergencies. The recession has forced many whom were making 6-figure incomes or come from wealth have to re-approach ways of spending and survival. Lay-a-way isn't a topic that is much needed support or information. It's self explanatory. A.J. Wright, Marshall's, T.J. Maxx, K-Mart, and many others have had lay-a-ways for years. Don't act surprised it's just that many whom had the credit and jobs to buy didn't want to take that route or pay attention. Trying to fit in with the high-end spenders. Let's not act like we're too good for things and then try to put it in the news like it's a scam or some rip-off. Please, us normal people have to use this to

    August 27, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  30. Catherine

    As a high school teacher, I try to keep my supply list as minimal as posssible. However, it never fails that students arrive in September with loads of supplies that were not requested and unnecessary for learning.

    In reality, what difference does it make how it's paid for? Costs are either going to come directly out of parents' pockets, or they will come out of their pockets indirectly through their taxes if schools pick up the tab.

    It is often the case that the parents who do most of the complaining about school suppy costs have also provided their kids with IPods, cell phones, and video games. An investement in school supplies at least provides a return... knowledge and education!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  31. Brandon

    The answer is no. With the crippled economy, prices have lowered drastically, To be honest, we actually spent less than what we spent last year.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  32. lisa

    I have 4 children and live in what use to be a oil boom town until about a year ago. It cost me $250 (verses last years $100)for the necessities to start school, that doesnt include clothes and shoes and all the extras they ask for duing the year, or lunches. Yes, of course it is to cost too expensive to send kids to school. As far as layaway, the only store we havein this town that carries all the school supplies the children need is WALMART. The WALMART store in this town has NO layaway. Makes it rough on all the peoplethat are relying on unemployment as their source of income, big drop in pay from this time last yr.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  33. Lorie El

    The supplies can be purchased at dollar stores. The paper and pencils need to be purchased. It is the other garbage that gets me. The trendy clothes and shoes. The only ones who benefit from the over rated clothes is the designer who is laughing at the ones who purchase their stuff while filling their pockets. Though my kids bulked at not getting the latest trends, I feel good that that money stayed within the family and not a designer or the companies that have sent the clothes industry to outher countries to be made, leaving US workers with hardly any jobs that are worked Mon thru Fri. Shop GoodWill or perhaps going back to US made uniforms and shoes.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  34. KIm

    Have you seen the new Live Scribe pen at $129.99 and up to $169.00 dollars ? Then the journal paper to re-place is $22.49 ! Pretty cool pen and records everything you hear in class and write. Then down load in your computor ! It's neat and a hot request from many college students but wait until the k-6 find out about this.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  35. Janet

    My sons are in third and sixth grade and my daughter graduated two years ago - what I finally figured out is that I should budget for those back-to-school costs WAY ahead of time. One way I save money (and time) is to take advantage of our district's buy-ahead school supply program. I spent $45 for the sixth grader and $55 for the third grader to order the school supplies ahead of time; they were pre-packaged and waiting for them in their classrooms on the first day of school. I'm sure I could save a few dollars by buying everything myself by going from Walmart to Target several times, but it's so much easier to have it done and save my time. It takes forethought and planning, but I finally learned to anticipate these back-to-school expenses and spread the expenses out over the summer. I'm not one to buy a whole new school wardrobe either – I just buy what they need when they need it. (It helps that they're boys!)

    Your kids' classrooms are always going to need hand sanitizer and facial tissues – just buy them occasionally when they're on sale and send them along with your kids to give to their teachers. I'm in my 15th year having at least one child in school, and I don't think that the back-to-school costs have increased that much during that time. However, I'm aware that times have gotten tougher for a lot of Americans, and I'm mindful that not everybody can afford back-to-school expenses at all – so I'm all for helping out by pitching in to help others. Send extra supplies to your kids' classrooms so nobody has to go without.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  36. KIm

    We have an American school building in Washington DC under construction with some serious environmental questionable concerns. Is there a hot line to make donations for healthy conditions as this construction is underway ? The Washington Teacher blog has the pictures and updates for your review.Maybe we could team up with the Live Scribe for a % ?

    August 27, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  37. Heather Sowerbutts

    For the second year, our school district has used government grants/"stimulus" money to supply all the things our kids need in the classroom! We have to purchase the "extras" like calculators, but paper, pencils, notebooks, binders, etc. are all supplied! What a blessing that's been! As an added bonus, there's none of the competition for who has the "cool" stuff for supplies!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  38. Keith

    If we're at the point where parents must buy school supplies on layaway, maybe it's time for people to refrain from having so many children...or any children at all.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  39. Patti

    Back to school got too expensive for me. My daughters felt like they had to compete with other children in regard to their clothing, or they felt like they didn't fit in. This was affecting their ability to concentrate. Some of their nicer items were also not making it home and were getting taken. I decided to enroll my children in a charter school. They are doing great, have shed the commercialism and are learning!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  40. E. Winter

    Okay-so the woman with SEVEN children thinks school is getting too expensive. Yes, I imagine everything is more expensive for someone with seven children. Here's a thought, and I realize it's not original but here goes, STOP HAVING SO MANY CHILDREN IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO TAKE CARE OF THEM!

    You want to know how to solve all problems in the world: population control. Gee, what a concept. We used to here about this occasionally. Now, never!

    Someone, please someone, do a story on this. It will be an exclusive. That should help.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  41. June Boughton

    I have two teenagers in a public high school, and their school FEES alone were $570, and my children are not even participating in any of the school-sponsored sports programs. This didn't even include all the supplies I needed to buy. Thank goodness I didn't need to buy a $100 calculator this year (not included in the "school fees") like I did last year.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  42. Silvio

    Our daughter is now starting school this year so between her and my son we spend over $250 Dollars just getting school supplies, we are now in the process of getting shoes, clothing and hopefully, just hopefully have enough to pay $1000 Dollars for transportation, if not I have to leave one of my jobs to get them to and from school.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  43. Shelly Fradkin

    Heidi,
    This is the first year my kids have not had any new school clothes. Not a stitch. I am blessed that they didn't mid wearing their old clothes or things we picked up at thrift store. They also used their old backpacks. As far as school supplies goes, we couldn't complete our school list and they went with about half of what they needed.

    I don't hold the schools completely responsible for this, as their funding is continuously being cut. They have no choice but to pass the expense on to the children's families. BUT they could be a little more careful with the supplies and more aware of how wasteful they can sometimes be.

    I am hoping to slowly complete the list as the first semester goes on. I know we are not alone, but it still breaks my heart that we couldn't provide the basic back to school needs for our kids.

    Shelly in Aurora, CO

    August 27, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  44. Judy Horton

    Heidi,

    I work in a school system and understand why parents are having difficulties buying all these school supplies. Many supplies that were supplied by the school district when I was in school are now the responsibility of the parents. Schools do not allow a tremendous allowance to the class room teachers to buy teaching supplies so many of those are also added to students supply lists – such as white board markers, 3×5 cards, kleenex... Tax payers complain about the money being given to Food Stamp recipients to assist in making these purchases so maybe the money should be given to school districts and earmarked for these items. Either way it is the tax payers providing it but there would be less concern about that the money would be spent as intended.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  45. Lesa

    Back to school costs are just another thing that comes with being a parent. Yea, of course it's expensive but ya only gotta do it once a year! keep in mind parents, you kids don't need expensive designer clothes from Hollister or American Eagle. Just take them to Target or Wal-Mart or even a thrift store! And kids defiantly don't need fancy gold pens and pencils. The dollar store supplies do well! 100 pencils for a couple bucks-can't beat it! It's your responsibility as a parent to step up and say no to things, like expensive clothes and stuff that you cannot afford. And don't worry, if your kids complain and fuss about it, they'll get over it eventually.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  46. Marion Stanford

    The cost of schooling comes with the decision to have children! Do not bring offspirng into this world that you cannot provide for and quit complaining about how much it costs to raise them. Lay-a-way was a common practice when I was growing up in the 60's and we used it all the time. Much better than whipping out the old credit card.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  47. Theresa

    We spent less this year than last on school supplies. We went through all the supplies left over from the end of school and marked off the lists what could be used again this year. Both my girls used the same backpack and same lunchboxes that they enjoyed last year. We bought used uniforms as well as "hand me downs"; no new clothes for either child. I appreciate the money we saved with these efforts but I think that it is more important for my children to understand the concepts of recycling and less waste.

    Our family does not throw away perfectly good items just to run out and buy more. That type of wasteful spending is what has caused so many of the problems that America is facing right now.

    Theresa
    Rockledge, FL

    August 27, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  48. Sarah Coles

    I would like to tell some of the parents out there why the supply list has grown over the last few years. I taught high school last year and found that I spent over a quarter of my pay check each month on supplies for my classroom. I found that I had to buy all of the copies for my class, provide my own computer equipment, buy basic supplies for all of my students (very few even had pens and paper), and was made to provide money for school fund-raisers.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  49. Lori C.

    Back to school is very expensive. Between the school supply list the school makes each student purchase and the school fees and lunch fees then the clothes it's unreal ! And you can't really cut corners on the clothes because you don't want your child to feel uncomfortable wearing the same set of clothes each week but on a different day. If my 73 yr old mother didn't help with my 14yr old daughters back to school needs I don't know what we would do. In the late 70's and early 80's when I was in junior high and high school all I took to school in the way of supplies was a spiral notebook and an ink pen, that's all you needed.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  50. Casey

    Change the way you look at Education by considering Cyber Schooling. Our son attends school at home and there is no cost for clothing, supplies, lunch, transport, tech ect. [Other than living at home cost of clothing, eating, ect.] Our school district forwards the moneyto the Pa. Cyber . They send texts, supplies, and reimburse online fees along with a refund for sports fees. Check out what available in your state.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  51. Keith

    I agree with "E. Winter." Many problems would be solved with fewer people. Less children is the true way to go Green.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  52. amy

    Heidi- Where did you get your beautiful red top that you are wearing today? I love it!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  53. bill

    RE DOCTORS YOU JUST INTERVIEWED

    I would ask the Dr. who is complaining about tort reform, what he and other doctors are doing about quality. The reason that malpractice litigation has grown in the last 30 years is that the medical profession has done a terrible job of policiing itself. Docs are not nearly as well policed as are lawyers (who are disciplined by courts in addition to malpractice litigation). Too many physicians are allowed to continue to practice after harming people. Too many patients have sufferent long term consequences of physician incompetence or abuse of drugs. It is well documented. Yes, some physicians are sued wrongfully and that is wrong; but it will only change if physicians demand a tough discipline system with compensation for innocent patients. I served as an administrative law judge in med mal cases and often saw the same doctor come before me over and over again and nothing was done to discipline that physician. Physicians – heal thyself before demanding the system be altered!

    August 27, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  54. Chad Warren

    Bulk purchasing can reduce the cost you pay for your child to go back to school.

    Details about Bulk Purchasing
    This plan is designed for schools who choose to prepackage the school supplies themselves. Parent volunteers package the bulk supplies to get the lowest cost. The school sets the sales price and is responsible for collecting and paying tax on all sales.

    Advantages:
    No prepackage cost results in lower cost for the school.
    Provides greater flexibility to fill late orders from parents.
    School has greater control over price, program, dates, etc.

    I found this info quickly with a web search. I think it teaches a valuable lesson. Don't just stop at voicing a complaint. Go through the effort to work with others and get what you want.

    August 27, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  55. Ann

    I've had to save money in other ways, since school supplies are getting so expensive. I quit my gym membership and now just use workouts I find online at Holosfitness.com. My husband cancelled cable. We're finding interesting ways to save money.

    August 27, 2009 at 11:12 am |
  56. Gary D. Scott

    Too expensive yes. I have twin high school juniors. So far: 2 science books – $289, 2 graphing calculators – $239, plus tthe usual pens, paper, binders, book covers, folders – probably $50. "Suggested Donations" – $200 science, $80 for architectural class, $40 for languages, Required $70 – gym clothes. $14 gym locks. "Participation fee" for football – $1010 per boy, including a mandatory $490. [The coach has 16 assistants for 3 teams, "has to have" over $5000 for "new headsets", over $2000 for "new video" equipment, over $2000 for helmet decals. I suggested "zero based budgeting" or deferral in these tough times- the concepts were unacceptable.) $250 refundable equipment deposit. $250 for dinners each and $20 for coaches gifts – these last two items don't have paid, but then the boys won't be able to be with their teammates at team functions. They will won't be full members of the team, if they cannot fully participate. (The boys are NOT going to play this year.) Of course I have not talked about new shoes (they have to have street and gym shoes – per the school), shirts, pants, underwear for 2 teenagers – easily $250 each.

    Thanks for asking the question.

    For those of us on the West Coast, it would be nice to have our comments considered the "next" day, because Heidi if off the air by the time we get to our offices and can respond to her questions.

    Gary D. Scott

    August 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  57. Kelissa Bass

    I think we should remember to stay current on whats going on locally. There is a salon in our area that is offering free hair styling for back to school aged children. These are the blessings that make a difference in so many peoples lives.
    African View Braid Salon
    Ypsilanti, MI 48197
    734-434-0961

    August 27, 2009 at 12:05 pm |
  58. richard

    RE: FDIC coverage
    This morning Christine Romans reported on your show that FDIC insures our accounts up to $250,000. That is not entirely correct, and somewhat misleading.
    The FDIC insures a Depositor up to $250,000 at any single institution. The difference being that a single depositor with more than $250K in several accounts at one FDIC bank is only covered for the 1st $250K. A single depositor w/ $250K in several FDIC banks is fully covered at each bank. Also, you can essentially double your coverage by opening joint accounts or using trusts, etc.
    http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/DIfactsheet.html

    August 27, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  59. David

    Dear Heidi,

    What is a rolling backpack?

    Thanks for giving us a peek at how parents are managing this time of year for their kids. It is surprising to me that back to school items that you would need at the beginning of the school year would be put on layaway, but maybe that's more just clothes, or maybe layaway for laptops. But things like gluesticks, pencils, notebooks, etc should be things that the kids have up front, don't you think?

    August 27, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  60. Don D. Brock

    the dreamer

    I believe it is time to start using computers in schools computers in libraries and USB sticks for home work and assignments. sound expensive?
    They have half size computers that will do the job and if the school would put the books and material on a camera flash card that can be locked to protect the data. back packs would get very light and have more room for science and other projects. sure wifi can be a problem with the children, you know notes to one another and so on. of course if a school had a good network operated by a programing class in the school I am pretty sure that problem can be over come with the right programmer instructor.
    I bet I sound like I am dreaming. Well perhaps because their is a lot of parents that cannot afford even a 250$ computer and children always want the best to look good among there friends.
    Look at it this way The dog cannot eat the home work if it is on a school computer or backed up at the school and parents computer and or on-line.
    Which means less excuses and a better education.
    I really think We should be Debating health/education reform and bring them up to todays needs.
    The biggist problem the people who write the material will not want to give up the money for publishing the books and will complain about putting printers and a lot of other people out of a job.
    Well I guess we will just have to get billy a bigger better backpack so we do not put people out of work and not force the printers and other workers to join us in the future.
    Do we look back, Stay Stagnet or look forword?.

    Don D. Brock

    August 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |
  61. Robin Hood

    Porn? Not even close, in art there is a very fine line between tasteful and distasteful. Maybe if they were charged for being distateful and inappropriate then it would have been justified, but Porn... please, the museum has a bit too much timeo n their hands.....

    August 28, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  62. Yolanda Cruz - Rockford, IL

    Heidi, I have 5 children, 4 of which attend a school who decided to use uniforms this year. I spent $450 on uniforms (cheaper than what I would have spent because I work for a promotional product company and can get the uniforms at cost). Everyone says I am saving money because I don't have to buy school clothes. What they don't know is tha I NEVER buy school clothes. I am usually given clothes by a friend who has a child of the same size. We don't have a big budget because I am a full time college student myself, so the uniforms and another $138 for school supplies really put a dent in my budget. The biggest dent, however, is paying for food. 3 gallons of milk and a gallon of orange juice is $15 and my kids go through that in one week!

    August 28, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  63. David

    Just a question. Do school supplies now include any of a number of cell phones w/text messaging so btwn classes kids can text things like miss u?

    Am I getting that right? It seems like the layaway is needed because parents keep bumping up against the need for some of these high tech items for their children.

    August 29, 2009 at 3:45 am |
  64. Herman Kirkpatrick

    I think people's trust of the media is at an all time low because most of the time the media seems have an agenda, Those leaning left spin left, the right spins right, even if it is a very little. The lines are completely blurred between reporting and editorializing. This can be done with as little as a nod or roll of the eyes at the end of a story.

    September 16, 2009 at 9:27 am |