My two kids, one first grader and one seventh grader have gone back to school today, just in time to save my sanity after a three month summer break due to KS schools shortening the school year by 3 weeks. Now it is time to go back to school, I am shocked by the cost to send your children to public school in KS.
Let’s start with the school fees; for my two children it came to $118.50; which is not an insignificant amount of money. Yes, we can afford to pay that amount; but this is just one phase of the costs of attending school in Wichita, Kansas. We are fortunate to be able to cover these fees, but many others in our neighborhood don’t have any money to spare, let alone $118.50 to give to the public school system.
Next up is the school supplies for your children; which is not for your children at all as it seems to become “community property” once it goes to school. We have never had our children’s school supplies come back home at the end of the year. The cost for just the essential supplies for my two children was over $180 plus $40 – $50 in “additional” supplies. Back home in the UK, we were required to attend, that’s all.
Finally, we come to the school uniforms, which thankfully is only required for my 12 year old. We needed pants (trousers for my British readers), polo shirts and gym clothes, which came close to $250 for five pairs of pants, five shirts and five sets of gym clothes. Yes, we could have bought less and laundered more frequently, but we have busy lives and didn’t want to run the risk of running out of clean uniforms.
For the 2016/17 school year, it has cost over $600 to send our kids to school, which I consider to be excessive to send two children to public school. But, let me be clear, I am not blaming the schools themselves, I put the blame squarely on the state of Kansas, more specifically Gov. Sam Brownback, who thankfully can not serve another term after years of tax cuts for the rich while defunding public programs.
Earlier this year, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled the block funding of schools as implemented by Gov. Brownback was unconstitutional and that it unfairly penalized schools in poorer neighborhoods as these schools often have more students compared to more affluent neighborhoods. Normally schools are funded on a per student basis, which ensures that schools get the funding they desperately need.
But like many Republican run states where trickle down economics is prevalent, tax cuts for the rich are put ahead of the local community and parents are bearing much more of the cost of schooling. Trickle down economics have and never will work, tax breaks for the rich results in more money in offshore accounts for the rich, those tax breaks are rarely used to create jobs or investment in the community.