My wife had with a conversation friend, that quite frankly, rubbed me (and her) a little bit the wrong way.
They talked about the school supply list that was sent home, which contains a list of supplies that each parent is asked to get and send in. Many of the items are shared between kids in the classroom, while some are kept individually. I think this proportion changes as the kids get older.
My wife was a little taken aback at one point. The other mom kind of laughed and said, “Well, you don’t really have to send anything in. They’re just suggestions, and really, the school is supposed to make sure everything is supplied.”
Here’s the thing, actually a few things.
Schools Aren’t Sitting On Cash
Our district, like many in Michigan, and probably many across the country, doesn’t get an excess of money. Back in the days when the Great Recession hit the country, Michigan had already been in one for several years. The Great Recession battered an economy that had already been taken to the woodshed. The state cut school funding levels many times, and the amount per pupil that is distributed is still at or below levels from the early 2000’s. This doesn’t even factor in inflation, which probably puts them back to levels over 20 years ago or pretty close.
Point being, while funding levels have steadily been increasing over the last few years, it’s not like districts are swimming in money.
People Can Afford The School Supply List
My wife’s friend can definitely afford to grab the list of supplies and send them in. They’re not 1%’ers but they’re definitely not hurting.
So, I just can’t understand why they are going to decide to draw the line here.
Supplying Is Helping Others
There are some families who are hurting. Our district is relatively small from a pupil count perspective. It covers a pretty big geographic areas that includes a pretty broad mix of economic scales. Simply put, there are a lot of families that simply do not have the means to supply that list. Maybe there are some circumstances where refusing to subsidize people who might be too poor to afford to chip in is appropriate, you’ll never convince me that it is justifiable when it comes to children, especially when it’s a pretty nominal amount.
The whole conversation kind of bummed me out and I think actually helped contribute to my recent case of the money blahs.
See, we’d never considered, and even after the conversation my wife had, nor would we ever consider skipping out on the supplies. My wife and I count as one of our blessings that we can afford this cost.
Would we rather spend the money on something else? Of course we would. Who wouldn’t? But that isn’t the point!
Between the transmission problems on the car and laundry list of things we had done to the camper, we dropped over $1,000 just like that. Would saving school supplies helped offset the sting of that? Sure. But would I ever go there? Not a chance!
In my last post, I talked about how I started to get out my money blahs by taking time to see how blessed we actually are, and I look at the fact that we can contribute the full school supply list as a blessing. (Well, my son did leave two boxes of tissue on the bus so while it certainly ended up at the school, it may have ended up in a different classroom…but that’s OK *lol*) We’re directly helping make a positive environment for both of our kids. Plus, we may even be helping others as well.
Isn’t that worth the cost? I think so.
My wife never followed up on the conversation as far as I know. It’s very possible that her friend sent in all the supplies anyway. Who knows? Maybe this post is sort of a moot point. I hope so!
I just wish more people saw their sending the supplies as what it is: A blessing.
Readers, do you have a suggested list of supplies to send to school? What is your take on the matter?Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.