11 September 2007

Money, It's A Game

So Ms. Five is in kindergarten. This is very exciting for everyone, of course. A lot of changes - new schedule, new friends, going to school EVERY day (not just 2 days a week), etc. - but we're getting used to it.

Harder to get used to is all the MONEY we're shelling out for various fees and fundraisers, all to benefit this public school, which, um, aren't I alreading funding by paying my taxes?

Yes, yes, I know - if anything in this world is underfunded it's public schools. But I mean, really, c'mon. We have, thus far:

  • paid a $45 kindergarten supply fee
  • received a Wish List from the kindergarten teacher of things she still needs
  • paid a $50 computer lab fee (OK, haven't actually paid that yet...)
  • received a request to collect Box Tops for Education
  • purchased $34-worth of items from the catalog fundraiser for myself
  • purchased $57-worth of items from the catalog fundraiser for my mother, grandmother and sisters
  • foisted the catalog fundraiser on all other relatives within reach
  • received a request for bake sale items
  • received a request that we volunteer to staff game booths at the Fall Festival
  • received a request that we order books, because the teacher gets credit towards books for the classroom if we do
  • received a request for items to include in a gift basket to be auctioned off at the Fall Festival
And I think I've even forgotten a few things.

It's the 3rd week of school! Do they think we're made of time and money? With a demanding full time job, I have neither the time nor the energy for volunteering (let alone the patience, but that's another matter). And I am still paying off my GODDAMN student loans, I do not have a whole bunch of extra cash. (Come to think of it, I don't have ANY extra cash.)

I'm sure I'll get lectured for complaining (enter the former PTA president??), but I am feeling seriously bombarded right now.

The bigger question, of course, is: WHY are our public schools in such dire straits that they have to raise tens of thousands of dollars from their students' families? Where is all this money going?? (They haven't really mentioned what the fundraiser money is for.) The scariest thing, though, is that we're in a ritzy, white, upper-middle class community -- what the hell must it be like in the inner city of Itty-Bitty City (or any city)? Frightening to think on...


Leslie said...

Well, you did invite me to comment (as a former PTA president...), but I am not here to quibble. I totally and completely agree. The fundraising is completely out of hand. I was so angry when I was president and we had to beg for ideas on how to spend this obnoxious amount of money we raised. So much of it was unnecessary, except when there was a real need (new ball walls and field trips for everyone), when it suddenly wasn't enough.

However, as a teacher who has already spent at least $500.00 on my classroom (above and beyond the $250 provided for me by the PTA, mind you)I gotta say it sucks from all sides. I also think it's worse in the ritzy white suburbs because we seem to expect everything to be all matchy-matchy and prettified. Like I'm the only teacher at the school who has kids write words on index cards (which I bought) for the word wall - everyone else bought pre-printed words with cute graphics. So look around and know that every bulletin board, poster, cute border, calendar, chart, etc. was purchased or made by the teacher. Every library book came from somewhere. Your tax dollars? My salary (such as it is), and the janitor's.

As a parent, what I resent even more is the fundraiser I'm expected to participate in for my kid who is in private school! Just raise my darn tuition and leave me alone!

And do I need to take up all your comment space? Don't I have a blog of my own? It's more fun over here - and less pressure.


Bethanie said...

OK, phew! I feel somewhat vindicated -- at least, it's not just my imagination and it really is somewhat ridiculous.

And wow - fundraisers at private school? (What will they think of next!?) They had fundraisers at Ms. Five's (private) pre-school, too. I always ASSUMED that because it was at a church, it was OK.

Why I was suddenly so trusting of religion beats the hell out of me... (I mean, eep, what's wrong with my brain?)

Oh, and you can come hang out at my blog anytime and take up all the comment space you like! Maybe then I'd post more than once a month... :-D

Bethanie said...

And I meant to say also: why on earth do teachers have to spend so much of their own money (and they are certainly expected to, it would seem, since my mother tells similar stories) when the PTA doesn't even know what to do with all the money they raise with their stinking fundraisers?!??

Is it just me, or is that frikkin' ludicrous?

Bethanie said...

I have a hole in my brain.

I also meant to add: POST SOMETHING, L!!! Just a tiny something about your job. Inquisitive (nosey) minds want to know: what grade are you teaching? how many kids? is it crazy (well, of course, it's crazy, but good crazy? or bad crazy?)

OK. That is all. I swear.

Leslie said...

I keep meaning to post - but by the time I have any, um, time my body is too tired to type and my brain has been turned to mush. I'll make an effort this weekend (I know, from trying to check in on your sister, how lame a dead blog is to visit)! In the mean time: third grade, 19 kids, good crazy, overwhelming and exhausting, but also fun and rewarding. (Ask me again after I try to re-teach half the class about the concept of 10,000 before the test on Friday).