Tony, from Elmhurst, Illinois is wondering about all the supplies he has to send with his kids this year. Tony writes …


As our kids go back to school in the coming weeks, I thought that I would make an observation regarding the way things were when I was a kid, and how certain things have changed.

My wife usually handles the back to school supplies lists, so I guess I never noticed the trend until now. About 1/2 of the items that we were asked to buy this year were supplies for the classroom itself and for the teacher, and not for specifically used by kids.

The list included two reams of paper for the classroom, sharpies and red pens to be used by the teachers to grade papers, dry erase board markers, 10 glue sticks, several boxes of tissues for the classroom, etc.

Yet, our school fees are now over $200 per student as well. Since when do the parents have to pay for all of the supplies for a teacher to do their job, and where is the District’s responsibility in this? It seems brazen that the District would unashamedly send a message requiring the students all bring these supplies, considering the funding they get. What about the kids whose parents can’t afford this additional bill like we can?

We have a large tax bill (about $10K per year), of which a good portion goes towards “education”. Our kids go to the public school system in Elmhurst, a district that spends over $11K per child per year, doubling from the figure just a decade ago.

Obviously, little of the money actually goes towards classroom needs – it must all be going to outsized pensions and salaries.

Have any of your other readers sent letters identifying this trend?


Anyone else noticing this? We have no kids and what Tony describes is certainly a massive change from when I went to school.

By the way, those of you from low-tax states might be questioning that $10,000 property tax bill. It is quite realistic. Ours is $14,000 on a 3400 sq ft. home and that is on a reduction. We protested our tax bill about 3 years ago and got a $2,000 reduction to $12,000. Here we are again, right back at $14,000.

You can never “own” your home in Illinois, even when it is completely paid off. Property taxes are a killer.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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