Every August parents e-mail me about these two things and I’m always more than ready for the discussion.
- School supplies: Rather than take a school supply list to Office Depot and purchasing items for your children, in HPISD parents pay the PTA and everything is ordered and waiting at the school. It’s pitched as super convenient and less expensive.
- Online registration: A convenience fee of $5 is charged for online registration, a requirement for each family. This process is intended to streamline the paperwork and payments and do everything in one place. It would be a total no-brainer if on the first day of school we didn’t get a bajillion forms to fill out and requests for more money for things not mentioned previously.
For kids in 5th-8th grades, there is a “wrap pack pick up night.” It’s a big deal. Each grade level has an assigned time the week before school starts. You go with your child to the gym, pick up the wrap pack (their supplies bundled together) and lug it to their classroom. But to me, convenient would be something like, I have to do nothing- it’s all where it needs to be.
And it would be even more convenient if on the first day of school my kids didn’t bring home a list of supplies needed for non-core classes. Because as long as I’m out picking up those things, I could have saved money on items for every class. Which leads me to the frustrating part- the thing about it being less expensive. I so don’t believe it.
The eighth grade wrap pack was $92 this year. Ninety-two dollars. And I still had to head out and buy these items for Spanish. Spanish!
- Book cover
- Binder with dividers
- Spiral notebook
- Red pen
- Spanish/English Dictionary (optional)
- Box of Kleenex for classroom (optional though appreciated)
Also on the first day of school the same child brought home a permission slip for a Health class field trip to an assisted living facility. The form was to be signed and returned with a check for $15.00 ($5 for the field trip bus and $10 for a CPR certification card from the American Heart Association). But I paid a class fee during the convenient online registration that I was almost certain included field trips and other things- all the way down to teacher gifts.
The fifth grade wrap pack was $88 but it didn’t include the optional (but apparently necessary) binders that were being sold at pick up night for $18.
All of this seems small in comparison to the 5th grade band instrument rental. I didn’t sign my child up for band. In 5th grade they are required to take 9 weeks. So, as the e-mail AND hard copy letter my daughter brought home said- I have to pay money for something that a public school is requiring my child to do.
Feels like private school with a registration process that falls short of being convenient enough to overlook the fact we’re being charged to use a required system.