Monday, August 16, 2010

SCATS' Letter To The BOE Prez Re: School Supplies

If I'm not mistaken, one of the first things HMO did when elected was to provide some extra funds for classrooms for supplies. Well, it might be time to seriously revisit what's going on with that. Last Friday's Greece Post ran a story about the high cost of school supplies and included a list of the "required supplies" for a Longridge School first grader. Among the items on this list are 20 glue sticks & 36 pencils! That's approx. one glue stick for every other week of school! The newspaper estimated the required supplies to cost $47.57, not including sneakers for physical education class or a book bag (or burro) to haul it to school with! In addition to that, the school's website shows that the same classrooms are also asked to provide: a box of 1 Gallon size zippered bags, a box of sandwich-sized zippered bags, an art smock AND 2 boxes of tissues! Parents are then "reminded" that individual teachers may have ADDITIONAL requests! Those things did NOT make the cut in the newspaper story. I wonder why not ... ?

WHERE DOES THIS INSANITY END??? HOW MUCH SHOULD PARENTS BE EXPECTED TO FORK OUT FOR "SCHOOL SUPPLIES?"

While at Wegmans, I picked up lists for several other schools including each grade at Kirk Rd. and for Olympia HS. One list for Kirk Rd. ends with requests for 4 boxes of Kleenex, a bottle of hand-sanitizer and wet wipes! The list for Olympia HS "requests" students bring a flash drive for nearly every class, including "library"!! As far as I'm aware, high school students don't have "library" as a class. This request for flash drives begs the question of whether or not students are EXPECTED to have a HOME COMPUTER. What about internet service, too? I'm sure that if you ask, you will be told that the students who lack such things have access at school. I'm fairly certain that is less than a 100% truthful answer - schools often LIMIT THAT ACCESS to very strict time-frames, so as not to inconvenience staff.

On SCATS & other forums (Facebook, comment areas on other media sites, etc.), teachers complain that school administration has either cut classroom supply funding, or limited it severely to ridiculously low amounts that barely cover the cost of the copy paper they must use (since textbooks are in short/nonexistent supply)!

Somewhere along the way, someone seems to have forgotten that taxes for most parents were raised with increases the BOE voted to allow for those using the enhanced STAR exemption. The BOE also voted to have the community swallow a tax increase of almost 4% that we weren't given a chance to vote on after saying "NO" to an even higher amount. Half of this town just saw significant increases in their assessments. The unemployment rates remain high. Foreclosures are expected to take longer than thought to become reduced to more normal levels. Given these facts, I ask again: WHERE DOES THIS INSANITY END??? HOW MUCH SHOULD PARENTS BE EXPECTED TO FORK OUT FOR "SCHOOL SUPPLIES?"

Are sports teams doing without chalk for the fields? Balls? Protective gear? Coaches? Buses? NO!! But the classrooms are being used as a means to blackmail parents into sending in supplies for "communal use" (and janitorial tasks) ... that means teachers OFTEN use the supply list for applying the first "homework grade" of the year! If you don't bend to the demands, your child gets a zero!

The BOE needs to look into this situation and ASK PARENTS what they've been requested to provide. Ask students if they had a grade on the line for satisfying these supply lists. Look at individual school websites and get an EYEFUL!

This problem grows worse each year Frank. You are in a position to do something positive about it in a meaningful and lasting way. Please don't miss this opportunity. It's time for a solid policy that has teeth in it.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I have had enough with these ridiculous requests from teachers for supplies. Personally, I am struggling to put food on the table and there is no way I can afford these specific supplies for 2 children along with clothing, shoes, etc. I am at a loss as to what to do. I do hope that Frank Oberg responds to your letter. More importantly, the BOE needs to address this as soon as possible. I know for certain I am not the only parent in this situation. Keeping my home and feeding my family is more important than providing the classroom with 20 glue sticks, kleenex, ziploc bags, etc.

Anonymous said...

Check out the Sunday D and C local book review page 7C "Many Options FEW EASY" re: controlling school spending. Should be a must read for anyone seriously interested in controlling education costs.

Tom Kackmeister

(The Monroe County library system
does not list this book in their calalog. I'll check to see if they have it ordered.)

SCATS said...

To Tom ~~ Make sure you specifically ask the Greece Library to order their own copy. By the way, I'm assuming you haven't read the book, right? How can you be sure it's "all that" if you haven't? Just wondering ... :)

Anonymous said...

11:42 read the Cliff Notes!

SCATS said...

To 1:57PM ~~ Always the wiseguy!

Anonymous said...

Have Frank check out the ATMS supply list...bonus points fro Kleenex, clorox wipes, CD's and more

Anonymous said...

In it un-ethical to ask parents to fund community classroom supplies unless the request is specific as to the intent.

To ask for $10 from each 1st grader and the teacher will buy supplies is great in my opinion.

When I shop for my child and for example purchase low odor dry erase markers, they are for her use and no one else, same is true if I choose to purchase a mead or 5 star notebook it is for my child.

Anonymous said...

SCATS: I expect if you get any reply, it will be that the request has been sent to committee or to an outside consultant for a recommendation. Don't expect an answer until Frank's term is over; I'm sure they have much more important things to discuss (how to avoid setting goals, how to increase the transportation budget, how to prevent closing schools to cut costs, etc)

SCATS said...

To 3:17PM ~~ Thanks for the heads up on that! I found & posted the list you were referring to ;)

To 3:48PM ~~ I got a lot of talk, but no action. It has become clear to me that certain people believe that the tighter they squeeze closed their eyes, the less reality they will have to face. So be it. I will persevere with plans to show why that might be the case. Stay tuned ;)

Anonymous said...

No I haven't read the book. I consider it must reading because I believe those in the profession will be reading it. I want to make my own judgements as to the crediability of the contents.

Be prepared.

Tom Kackmeister

SCATS said...

Tom ~~ I guess you have more faith in the "professionals" of GCSD than I do. Maybe it will be required reading in the new contract ;)

Anonymous said...

That book is available from the author free of charge. It is worthwhile reading - I ordered one for every board member and administrator in the district where I live. It's a quick read and well worth your time.

SCATS said...

To 5:41PM ~~ THANK YOU! I'll pass that info along :)

PS ~~ We can lead our BOE to enlightenment, but we might not be able to make them read it ...