Parents paying more to send kids to school

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PHOENIX – Alyssa Johnson's daughter, Amanda, is about to start 1st grade and they have already bought school supplies.

“A bag, her lunchbox, and all the pencils and crayons,” said Johnson.
 
Last year, on average, parents paid $474 for back to school supplies and clothes. This year, that amount has gone up to $530.
 
“I remember bring a box of Kleenex to school and all that, but there seems to be a lot more with all the glue. She's going to have to have a flash drive for her class.”
 
Buying school supplies is something parents have had to get used to ever since the state started making major cuts to education but this year parents might be faced with something new.
 
“You're probably going to find what I'm calling personally, more user fees,” said Chris Maza, who is a school board member with the Washington Elementary School District.
 
Fees, he said, are for after school activities, which include tutoring programs and sports such as football and volleyball that used to be free.
 
“It's going to be very unequal. There are some parents who can afford these things, other parents who can't afford them, other parents who won't want to afford them and say this is what the district needs to pay for,” commented Maza.
 
One of the biggest cuts and probably the most noticeable to parents is out of “soft capital,” which is a fund that pays for computers, textbooks and other equipment.

More than $188 million was cut by the state this year.
 
“That's actually your supply budget, all of your consumables, things that students use on a daily basis that has been reduced significantly and that's why you're seeing teachers pulling out of their pockets more, because who wants to deny kids anything,” said Maza.
 
Maza said teachers on average spend about $450 out of their own pocket on school supplies each year. He went on to say that because of the cuts to education some teachers will have to take furlough days, meaning your kids won't be at school.

Some districts have even chosen to go to four days a week to save money.