Local Editorials

Our View: Going back to school can be costly

Back to school keeps getting more expensive.

According to the Huntington Bank Backpack Index, which was released Wednesday, the cost of supplies and extracurricular activities has increased 85 percent for elementary school students, 78 percent for middle school students and 57 percent for high school students since the first index in 2007.

“With the ongoing slow growth in wages, it is difficult for many families to meet the rising costs of sending children to school,” said George Mokrzan, director of economics for Huntington Bank. “For a family of five living at the poverty level guideline of $28,410, the cost of sending three children to school would consume as much as 10 percent of their income.”

Adding supplies cost and fees together, the cost for an elementary school student increased 1 percent from 2014 at $649. For middle school children, a 2.5 percent jump from last year brought its figure to $941. High school students saw the largest jump – a 9 percent increase compared with 2014 – at $1,402.

Huntington annually obtains classroom supply lists from a cross section of schools throughout the six states it serves and compiles a representative list of required supplies and fees. Costs are determined by selecting moderately priced items at online retailers.

As school funding lags and technology increases, parents are expected to foot the bill for more and different kinds of supplies. The final bill is steep, especially for families already struggling to make ends meet.

What can you do?

By all means, if you have the means, consider donating school supplies for needy families gearing up for another stressful season of back-to-school supply shopping.

Many organizations, including The Salvation Army, are having school-supply drives to help needy families.

It’s probably not as apparent as you might think, but there are families in McHenry County who need help as a new school year quickly approaches. Please help if you can.

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