Saturday, August 14, 2010

TARFU - School Supply List Frustrations Continue Unabated to the Pocket

Last year we initially raised the concern about disparity both within and between schools with respect to supply lists.
Apparently, no one in the district office seemed to care. Because nothing changed.

In these rough economic times, the highly paid district administration staff--to whom the community so generously gave $100M for new and upgraded schools---need to start paying it forward to the community at large.

We need a better plan, people.

Parents fork over between $40 and $80 per child for school supplies. Many are provided in such numbers that the parent is clearly providing for more than their own child. Some supplies are really for the teachers....who shouldn't have to purchase them with their own money. Parents of one school should not have to pay for supplies for impoverished children...that's the responsibility of the entire community. Just because every school district does it this way, doesn't make it acceptable.

What are we? Lemmings??
It's time Sun Prairie forged a path of its own.

The purchasing power of the school district--not to mention tax exempt status and discounting-- far exceeds anything that parents can achieve. And if these are necessary supplies for every child to learn, shouldn't these be part of the budget?

SP-EYE has NEVER been opposed to budget expenses that directly impact a child's learning. What we oppose is wasteful spending or luxuries for those that feel they are entitled. Let's do a little quick math here. We have about 3500 elementary school kids. Let's say parents spend about $50 per kid to obtain these "necessary school supplies". That comes to about $175K. Now...what do you suppose the district could get these same supplies for with its contract purchasing power, discounts, and tax exempt status? Maybe $100K?

We just came VERY close to spending an additional $90K per year to bus less than 150 kids who now must walk to school. But we won't even consider buying necessary school supplies for $100K?

The football people want the district to pony up over $400K to build new locker rooms and put turf on Ashley Field. Shouldn't we spend money FIRST on making sure kids have what they need to learn?

$100,000 for necessary supplies is a drop in the bucket for a $72 MILLION dollar budget. 0.14% to be exact.

Oh...and why is it that these supply costs get pushed off onto the shoulders of struggling parents while we include very cozy travel costs, staff "development" training costs (which many staff members feel are a waste of time anyway)? Why is it that Kit Kat bars, pizza, bottled water,office renovations, and multiple newspaper subscriptions for the district office folks for their reading pleasure are included in the budget, but basic classroom supplies are not?

If the school district won't do something...we will.

We looked at a number of common school supply items across grades within school and across whole schools. The picture is not pretty.

Clearly schools are not talking to other schools in the district and setting DISTRICT standards for what they need for kids in their classrooms. We don't expect absolute clones....but come on...look at the wide array of numbers below and tell us there isn't a problem!

#2 Pencils (Sharpened)
School K 1 2 3 4 5
Bird 12 30 48 40-50 48 48
Creekside 6 12 24 36 60 48
Eastside 6 24 48 36 48 36
Horizon 12 24 60 48 24 72
Northside 12 24 24 48 24 96
Royal Oaks 12 24 24 24 8 12
Westside 0 24>15 12 12 36

There are only 180 school days and we require 96 pencils per kid (NS grade 5)?
Isn't that just a teensy bit ridiculous? That's more than one new pencil every other day!
5th grade between schools ranges from 12 to 96 pencils required?
4th grade between schools ranges from 8 to 60 pencils required?
The required number of pencils per child for all 6 grades ranges from 99 (Westside) to 240 (Horizon).

School K 1 2 3 4 5
Bird (2) 24 ct box (1) 16 ct box (1) 16 ct box (1) 16 ct boxxxxxxxxxxx
Creekside (3) 24 ct box (2) 24 ct box (1) 48 ct box (1) 24 ct boxxxxxxxxxxx
Eastside (4) 24 ct box (3) 24 ct box (1) 48 ct box (1) 24 ct boxxxxxxxxxxx
Horizon (1) 24 ct box (1) 24 ct box (1) 24 ct box (1) 24 ct boxxxxxxxxxxx
Northside (2) 16 ct box (2) 24 ct box (1) 24 ct boxxxxxx 24+ (1) 24 ct box
Royal Oaks (3) 16 ct or 24 ct box (1) 24 ct box (2) 24 ct box (1) 8 ct "Twistable"xxxxxxxxxx
Westside(1) 8ct lg + (1) 24 ct box(3) 24 ct box(1) 16ct boxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Are Northside kids just slow and still use crayons (we're kidding!!)...while others have moved on to colored pencils?
...and just so we're not picking on Northside...we don't even have space here, but if you look at "required" ant--septic supplies, Eastside 2nd graders would be considered the most they are EACH "required" to supply (1) Baby wipes, 80ct PLUS (2) containers antibacterial wipes.
The range for 1st graders is 16 to 72 crayons? Is Bird just not so into art? Is Westside the home for budding artists?

SchoolK123 45
Bird15 Elmers10 sm2 Lg3 sm31
Creekside4 Lg or 8-10 sm8 sm34- 0.35 oz2 Elmers1 Elmers
Eastside10 sm (Elmer/Avery)8 Lg 0.77 oz6 Lg (Elmers)43 Elmers2 sm Elmers
Horizon15 sm4 sm 2 Jumbo2 Lg2 Lg2 Lg
Royal Oaks10 Lg (1.27-1.4 oz, Elmers or Office Depot)12 sm (0.26 oz, Avery)6 sm (0.21 oz, Elmers)2 sm (0.21 oz, Elmers)1 sm (0.21 oz, Elmers)1 sm (0.21 oz, Elmers)
Westside5 Lg + 5 sm8 Jumbo4 Jumbo 2 Jumbo2? "Glue Sticks"
range4 to 204 to 162 to 62 to 41 to 31 to 2

TWENTY glue sticks per kindergartner? What are we doing, sticking the kids to the walls?
The ranges for K-1 are just crazy!
And the specifications! Down to the net weight of the product???

SchoolK123 45
Bird4 Expo2 black4 black Expo2 black Expo4 black skinny Expo8 black skinny
Creekside4 black Expo2 black Expo3 Expo 1 Expo2 black/blue4 asst colors
Eastside4 black Expo14 Ultra Fine tipxxxxxxxxxxx2 black/blue2 black/blue
Horizon2 black4 asst -colors4 black4 asst colors2 black2 black
Northside1 "pkg"22 black2 blackxxxxxxxxxxx2 black fine tip
Royal OaksMulti-colored Expo(1) 4pk Expo2 black Expo* N/A *1 blue, 1 red2 black Expo2
Westside2 black2 black Expoxxxxxxxxxxx22xxxxxxxxxxx
range2 to 41 to 42 to 40 to 40 to 42 to 8

Aren't "dry erase" markers for teachers to write on those wonderful Smartboards?
Seriously....has anyone considered what kind of shenanigans these kids can get into with dry erase markers?
Are we just fortifying some black market dry erase marker operation?
Why do some classes apparently not need any?