NYC Public School Parents Resent, and Worry About, Pervasive Fund-Raising

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What ever happened to public school being free?

Earlier this spring, when SchoolBook asked public school parents to tell us what they spent on their children’s education, we were inundated with numbers.

And emotions.

Many wrote in to say they felt “nickeled and dimed.” One mother said she resented being asked to bridge the gap between the city’s “spartan budget” and her own wishes for her children. Others railed against the inequities that so much reliance on parent money is causing in a system where so many students live at or below the poverty level.

Yes, some parents said they were more than happy to give $75 in class-photo money, $230 in senior dues, $350 for elementary school trips, $500 worth of school supplies, and to respond to direct appeals with suggested donations that could soar into the $1,300 zone, at a time when the Education Department is grappling with five consecutive years of state budget cuts.

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