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Public schools provide children with necessary education tools without the tuition costs associated with private schools.
But is a public education really free?
Elementary school supplies
One supply list for Oxford Elementary asks students to purchase six single-subject wire composition notebooks; seven file folders in red, green, orange and blue colors; two purple pocket folders; wide-ruled notebook paper; No. 2 pencils; pencil-cap erasers; crayons; red ink pens; facial tissues; paper towels; hand soap; and sandwich bags.
Purchasing these items at a superstore costs about $35.
Middle school supplies
One supply list for Jacobs Fork Middle asks students by buy two three-ring binders, four composition notebooks, loose-leaf paper, colored pencils, pencil-top erasers, a red pen, index cards, tab dividers, blue or black pens, highlighters, No. 2 pencils, a hand-held pencil sharpener, a combination lock for the student’s locker, four AAA batteries, a roll of tape, sticky notes, a pencil pouch and graph paper. These items, if purchased together, cost about $36.
High school supplies
Necessary supplies vary for high schoolers depending on students’ individual classes. Many supplies, like three-ring binders, loose-leaf paper, No. 2 pencils and ink pens, are similar to school requirements in previous grades.
High school classes also present additional expenses, including graphing calculators for upper-level science and math classes. Some graphing calculators can cost as much as $125.
But the expenses don’t stop there. Many lists don’t include items, such as book bags, lunch boxes or pencil cases, which students need to transport and organize their school supplies on a daily basis.
A book bag costs anywhere from $9 to $70, depending on the bag’s size, features and design. Lunch boxes or paper bags for carrying food and snacks can cost $5 or more.
School supply lists often include teacher “wish lists” with items required for purchase. The lists contain items, like adhesive bandages, individually wrapped candy or craft supplies, which the teachers need and might purchase throughout the year with their own money.