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Is PS really "free" education?


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We have just sent ds#2 off to PS for highschool. Neither dd or ds#1 wanted to go, so the costs of sending a dc to highschool here in NZ have been eye opening. Dh went to highschool at the same school, but almost 50 years ago & I went to PS in the States. So far to get ds#2 through the door on day 1 it's cost us:

 

$274.40 ==== school uniforms (75% of these were 2nd hand. If all were new the cost would have been over $500. I'm praying that they fit him for at least 2 years :001_unsure:)

 

$104.31 ==== stationary (we used a lot that we had around the house, i.e. scissors, coloured pencils, etc.)

 

$66.50 ==== course fees

 

$120.00 ==== parental contribution (this is supposed to be a "donation" but you don't really have a choice not to pay :glare: )

 

$0 ==== bus costs (free as ds#2 attends the PS we are zoned for, otherwise we'd need to add in over $50/week for bus fees!)

 

 

 

This adds up to $565.21 & he's only gone for 4 days so far! I'm afraid to even think about what it will cost us for him to play field hockey for the school team or participate on the school sailing team. This is not a fancy private school. It is our local highschool, zoned for our area. I do remember paying some fees (stationary fees, paper fees, school "donation", etc.) when dd & ds#1 attended primary school over 10 years ago, but it added up to about $100/year.

 

What does it cost to send a child to PS highschool where you live? Please list just the school mandated, non-negotiable costs. Also, list any programs available for lower income students (i.e. school breakfasts & lunches.)

 

Here in NZ, there is no such thing as school breakfasts or lunches. Everyone brings their lunch from home or buys it from the tuckshop. There is no gov't funded meal program.

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It costs me less to education my children at home than it would to send them to the "free" public school. Book fees, supply fees, sports fees, appropriate attire, lunch money, donations, etc.

 

The school district does have a free lunch program. Children eligible for free lunch are exempted from some but not all fees.

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When my kids attended ps in the US, it cost us maybe $20 for school supplies at the beginning of the year. I consider that a free education.

 

I have no problem with people paying for sports. I pay for my kids' sports.

Btw, feeding them lunch at home is not cheaper than sending the lunch with them to eat at school. I don't see why food should be free (unless to help out the very poor)

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No it is not free and every single year at the beginning of the school year I post my annual tirade about the costs. :glare:

 

:iagree:

 

When my dd was in school it used to peeve me that I had to purchase paper towels and ziplock bags :001_huh: amount other things. They don't supply those at the school?

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Deb, I have the same situation- but we have "voluntary" and "compulsory" school fees as well. I paid the compulsory fees of $250 or so last week and I "have" to pay the "voluntary" ones by the end of 1st term. Thats another $200 or so. Then there are further contributions you can make if you choose.

Plus all the other things you have said.

Yes- its not cheap, and I only bought the summer school uniform so far. The jacket for the winter one is $65 alone.

 

On the other hand, my son came home yesterday absolutely raving about the swimming lesson he had in the school pool- and how he got to dive off the diving boards. I am pretty sure the government wouldn't have paid for that, which means the school raised the funds. There is also a basketball stadium and tennis courts.

We live in a wealthy area- the school is one of the top scoring state schools. Overall, I feel we have done well- he got across borders to get into this school- their numbers were low this year, otherwise he wouldn't have got in. It has put me out of pocket for sure, but so far, so good, and he is really loving it. It feels like just what he needed.

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Nope, I distinctly remember how much we pay in property taxes every year and what percentage is reported to support schools. Not free at all.

 

Some of our taxes go to support public education as well. I am asking for the out-of-pocket, non-negotiable costs to families. Ds#2 has in his closet clothing that is decent, but to attend PS you must wear the school uniform. No other clothing is allowed on school grounds & this includes caps, jackets, shoes! Even traveling to & from school students must be in the designated school uniform.

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Deb, I have the same situation- but we have "voluntary" and "compulsory" school fees as well. I paid the compulsory fees of $250 or so last week and I "have" to pay the "voluntary" ones by the end of 1st term. Thats another $200 or so. Then there are further contributions you can make if you choose.

Plus all the other things you have said.

Yes- its not cheap, and I only bought the summer school uniform so far. The jacket for the winter one is $65 alone.

QUOTE]

 

Peela,

We were blessed to be able to get ds#2's winter jacket & wool jersey 2nd hand. New they cost over $100 each, but I paid only $50 for both. Our climate here in Northland is mild enough that there is only really one school uniform (shorts & a polo shirt). A wool jersey &/or jacket is added in the cool, wet winter months. Students aren't even allowed to wear longs until the last year of highschool.

 

I am mostly pleased with how the first week has gone for ds#2. He was keen to go & is approaching his work with a good attitude. It's interesting to see him work especially hard at making his work neat, when neatness wasn't important at all in his homeschool work :lol: He has found the work easy for the most part & hopes to be moved up a few classes when they do testing after 6 weeks.

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My experience is that home schooling is slightly cheaper than ps when you add all the fees, field trips, donations, time spent fundraising, ect. In high school it gets worse. I have a friend who spends more than $600 to register two children for high school per year. She still has lots of other school related expenses. Sad.

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My dd goes to public high school. We pay a $75.00 activities fee (instead of fundraisers) each year. She needs notebooks, pens and pencils, and a $100 calculator which she will use all four years. She wouldn't need the calculator if she wasn't taking Honors math courses. We paid for PSAT's and SAT's athough I guess neither are mandatory and would probably be taken by college bound homeschoolers as well. Lunch money isn't mandatory because she can bring her lunch from home. There are free and reduced price lunches for those who fit the income guidelines. We don't have school uniforms so she wears the same clothes she would wear anyway. We did have to buy sneakers, spankies and a warm up suit for cheerleading but the rest of the uniform was provided. She pretty much hit full growth by high school so they look like they are going to fit her through all four years (she's already a junior).

 

I definitely anticipate homeschooling being more expensive than public school. We never had the huge amounts of supplies that I hear some people talk about.

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My ds attends public high school. Pretty much I pay for school supplies (notebooks, paper, ect.) The most expensive items have been a TI 84 calculator and a flashdrive and those he can use year after year. He doesn't wear different clothes than when he homeschooled. He's just bigger--I'd have to get him clothes anyway. I think fees for fieldtrips and most Model UN events added up to less than $100. There is a special Model UN trip every year and to go on the trip is $200--that is a club and not everyone in the club does the trip. So, all told less than $400 if we do the trip. I definitely spent more than $400/year on homeschool and Private Schools in my area that I consider good are $20,000-30,000.

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Oh those voluntary school fees are voluntary. My mother didn't pay them. You can't get blood out of a stone, and they knew it. I was punished by not receiving the yearbook, but one of the other teachers gave me hers. Of course I'm planning to toss them into the recycling next time I find them. :lol:

 

Rosie

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Other than the fact that we've already paid for it with our taxes, I absolutely consider it to be a free education. There are no course fees, obligatory donations, bus fees or anything else here that you have to pay. Elementary schools and many middle schools in my city require uniforms, but my understanding of the cost isn't as much as what the OP posted and there are programs that pay for them for some low income students. Most public high schools don't have uniforms here. Free lunch is also provided to a very large number of students in my city. Reduced prices on AP exams are given to those who qualify (and no one is required to take them anyway, not to mention that you're buying college credit with them). Nothing is totally free, but it really confuses me when I hear parents talk about how expensive it is to send their kids to public school here. No, nothing is absolutely without cost, but it's pretty close from what I can see. I just... don't get it. Do people really think the schools should provide every piece of paper and pencil? Even the clothes on the kids' backs? I say this in genuine ignorance. Maybe I really don't get it because my kids have never gone to school. Maybe there are a lot of hidden costs I'm just not seeing.

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Nope, I distinctly remember how much we pay in property taxes every year and what percentage is reported to support schools. Not free at all.

 

No kidding. :glare: And for all that, I can't even send them to ps because ours are so awful.

 

I remember when my kids spent those few months in private school, though; the lunches, the pictures, the supplies, the Scrip (obligatory fundraising), the this, the that - it adds up to a lot very quickly.

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It's not free, but I can afford it. The private day high school near us is 25k, plus expenses.

 

I guess it's relative. I pay more per month for ballet for my youngest, and more in art classes yearly for my 18 yr old.

 

The one private school in our town cost $10-15K / year. Even with top scholarships families have to pay 25% of the cost.

 

For us, what we've paid so far for PS for ds#2 is about 2% of our income or more than one week's take home pay. That doesn't sound much, but we also have dd & ds#1 in tertiary study & dh was made redundant 6 months ago. Private school was never even considered.

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Depends:

 

Elementary is about $125 + mandatory school supplies plus additional supplies that need restocking.

Middle school is about $150 + supplies.

High school is about $250 + supplies.

Lunches are $2.25 or bring from home.

 

Then there are field trips, sports (as much as $100 per sport), clubs ($25-$100), additional lab fees for some courses, workbook fees, ID, gym suit, gym lock. Drivers Education is about $300 and is going up every year. When niece took DE 8 yrs ago it cost $50.

 

We pay about $3000 a year in taxes to our school district.

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Yes. Even the Catholic high school here is 8k, plus about $500- 800 in fees. The classes are quite large as well, as it serves several communities. Our public high school graduating class is much smaller than theirs (500 them, V under 300 town). We pay (per year) $100 for music, $100 for sports. Field trips/buses are not charged extra. We pay taxes, of course, but that also buys us police, firefighters, and other services. We'd still have to pay these taxes, no matter if we had kids or not.

 

 

The one private school in our town cost $10-15K / year. Even with top scholarships families have to pay 25% of the cost.

 

For us, what we've paid so far for PS for ds#2 is about 2% of our income or more than one week's take home pay. That doesn't sound much, but we also have dd & ds#1 in tertiary study & dh was made redundant 6 months ago. Private school was never even considered.

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It costs me less to educate my children at home than it would to send them to the "free" public school. Book fees, supply fees, sports fees, appropriate attire, lunch money, donations, etc.

 

:iagree: This is true here too.

 

There Is No Free Lunch!

Your hard-earned money paid in taxes pays for it!

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I spend far more homeschooling than I did when my kids were in public school. Most expensive public school year was around $500 for school supplies, fees and field trips. Most expensive homeschooling year was around $5000 (dual enrollment courses, tutorial fees, curriculum, supplies and field trips).

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Fees:

 

All field trips

 

Band lesson book $7 and possibly instrument rental

 

Classes offered through dual enrollment - several of these have no free counterpart, for ex. Trig is only CC

 

PSAT, AP exam fees

 

Gym shorts, tee, swim suit and sneakers if not already owned

 

2 locks - 1 for main locker, 1 for gym

 

Sports: varies by sport and year; had to buy spikes last year plus supply running shoes, practice swim suits & googles; fee for offseason training is about $100 for 8 weeks

 

All music contest entry fees plus admittance to concert if child performs with All-County, All-State etc.

 

Transportation to music contest auditions & events (15-50 miles one way)

 

Parking lot fee for high school students who wish to drive $25/yr

 

 

All free/red lunch students get all fees waived; boosters usually supply their sports equipment; band - must choose from school owned instruments; foundation supplies stationery needs and backpack; social services supplies gym clothes

 

Some of these things (the ones I marked in bold) I don't see as school expenses but as life expenses. For example, a band instrument. If I want my child to play a musical instrument, I expect to be responsible for getting the instrument (buying or renting), whether my child is in public school or home school. Band is not mandatory.

 

Same with PSAT and AP tests. These are fees I'm responsible for as a parent, regardless of how my child is schooled. And again, not mandatory.

 

Same with gym clothes and sports equipment. There is no set outfit required, and if I want my child to exercise I need to provide appropriate clothing.

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Same with PSAT and AP tests. These are fees I'm responsible for as a parent, regardless of how my child is schooled.

 

.

 

I had to pay for PSAT and AP tests for my homeschoolers. My 17 yr old gets a free instrument, plus about 25 hours a week of music lessons that come with his school music program.

 

My real estate taxes get me town services as well.

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no PSAT or SAT fees in NZ, but in Years 11-13 we have to pay a $75 fee each year to the gov't to have our dc's credits recorded on their record of achievement (transcript) :glare: This isn't manditory, but students need their ROA to get into tertiary study, apprenticeships, jobs, etc. Those students who choose to do the Cambridge or ICAS exams do have exam fees, but ds#2 isn't in those classes.

 

PE clothing is part of the uniform & they need specific colors / styles /etc. Ds#2 couldn't use a shirt & shorts from home. But the students go barefoot in PE :laugh: so that saves on sneakers.

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No it is by no means free. In fact we pays hundreds to the Publics Schools that my children will never step foot in.:glare:

 

This is a huge issue every Aug/Sept. around here. Despite the thousands that most homeowners pay annually just for schooling, the school supply lists have gotten ridiculous. Paper towels, anti-bacterial wipes, bleach wipes, 5 pkg. of pens, 5 of pencils, 10 boxes of crayons, etc. The argument here is that teachers end up having to supply those items anyway because some kids don't have them or forget them. The other argument is that budget cuts have hit schools hard so all parents should have to shoulder the burden of keeping the schools stocked and cleaned. We don't send our kids to ps but my neighbors were venting outside one gorgeous fall morning (ahhh warmth, where are you...) about how it costs them almost $400 per year per kid to send their kids to "free" public school. This really ticked them off since we are in an area that pays double taxes - city and county - to be in the good school district.

 

How does that compare to home school? I spend way less than $1200 a year to home school my kids....now. (I splurged on an online class AND co-op classes this year, so my budget is higher than normal - about $600 this year for three kids) It is getting more expensive each year (more advanced science is a big kicker) However, even at my most expensive, I cannot see spending that much on hs each year.

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The only thing from your list that we have to pay for for ds is the uniform and some pencils and pens. What I find costing us a lot of money is the lunch. He gets a couple of pounds per day to buy lunch there. We tried sending him with lunch, but it still cost about the same because we had to buy 'convenience' items (individual yogurts, chips, etc). I don't spend nearly so much feeding my other kids lunch at home on homemade soup, pasta, etc. At his last school we had to pick him up from school every day (he rode there with a friend), and the petrol costs were phenomenal. We definitely pay less for homeschool materials than the costs of school.

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Uniform is pricy, but I have fewer other clothes for the boys now that they are at school. In total, Calvin has his school uniform plus a couple of pairs of winter trousers, a few T-shirts and a couple of sweaters. Of course, non-uniform clothes cost less, but there is a little offset there.

 

Laura

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My brother pays $7000 school fees and books, uniform is extra, for a government school.

My cousin went to a exclusive girls boarding school, the fee was $37000 per year, including board. sports like rowing, swimming etc. were extra, uniforms and books were extra.

 

We don't have school tax on properties in Australia.

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$0 after taxes.

There were zero mandatory fees for my schooling and zero fees for ds's, when he was in ps.

There was the obvious need for pencils, folders, etc., but any parent could contact the school/PTO if they needed help with that. And all the schools have forms for free/reduced lunch/breakfast.

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I'm curious:

 

When people say their taxes also provide them other services, do you mean that your school taxes aren't separate?

 

Here, we pay a separate school tax so theoretically, we can see how much we are paying just for school.

 

But many poor districts get what is referred to as "state money" that is a separate amount than the local school taxes.

 

That grates a bit. It is taxpayers' money, not state money. :glare:

 

ETA: take out the word "poor" in the 4th line. It is not germane to my point.

Edited by unsinkable
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Our property taxes support the schools and all other government services. I don't know exactly how much we pay for each since it's a lump sum but I can guess based on the percentages charts published every other year. These are pie charts that show what percent goes where. The public schools get a certain percentage, the fire department, etc. I am all in favor of paying our property taxes whether our children attend public school, but I can guess about how much we are paying for them every year. We pay property taxes here on houses and cars, plus we pay extra taxes on hotels and restaurants as we are in a high tourist area.

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I agree in parts, however areas of the country are different. Do understand that in this district, if you aren't paying fees for AP or dual enrollment, your senior will be in five study halls plus possibly band and/or choir. Only 2.5 classes are required for seniors so that is all the school provides for them. The philosophy is that if the course is not required for a diploma, it won't be offered. No AP courses, Trigonometry, Pre-Calc, Foreign Language IV, yada yada...enjoy study hall or pay (unless you are on free/red).

 

It is interesting to read about the differences in different areas.

 

About the AP classes, do you have to pay a fee even if you don't take the test?

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I'm curious:

 

When people say their taxes also provide them other services, do you mean that your school taxes aren't separate?

 

Here, we pay a separate school tax so theoretically, we can see how much we are paying just for school.

 

But many poor districts get what is referred to as "state money" that is a separate amount than the local school taxes.

 

That grates a bit. It is taxpayers' money, not state money. :glare:

 

We pay a little over $6,000 a year in property tax (each year is different depending and what the powers at by claim our house is worth that year)

 

That amount pays for schools, library, the park district (although we do have to pay for each program we take), the fire and police department, and maybe some other things. The biggest portion goes toward the schools.

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I agree in parts, however areas of the country are different. Do understand that in this district, if you aren't paying fees for AP or dual enrollment, your senior will be in five study halls plus possibly band and/or choir. Only 2.5 classes are required for seniors so that is all the school provides for them. The philosophy is that if the course is not required for a diploma, it won't be offered. No AP courses, Trigonometry, Pre-Calc, Foreign Language IV, yada yada...enjoy study hall or pay (unless you are on free/red).

 

 

:confused: That is ridiculous! I was shocked that you had to pay for an AP class - ours were "free" when I went to school. I didn't realize that you meant your child wouldn't have even a regular level class - only study hall. And I'm quite certain that your school - like all of them around the country - are graduating kids who end up in remedial classes in college.

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The student has to take the test. I suppose he could be sick, but the fee is collected before the course begins.

 

There are only 4 AP classes offered at the school. (Studio Art, the 2 English, and one SS). All else can be taken during a study hall and the parent will pay a distance learning fee to the course provider as well as the exam fee. Or the child can study on his own and just arrange for the exam.

 

I'm feeling a bit more grateful for my son's high school at the moment.

 

That would be very frustrating.

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I'm curious:

 

 

 

But many poor districts get what is referred to as "state money" that is a separate amount than the local school taxes.

 

 

Last I checked in our state, "poor" schools didn't get extra state money -- the schools that got state money were those that were "poor for their district". In other words, schools that had the most poor students in each district got extra money. There are many schools in the poorer districts that DON'T get extra state funding, even though they have more kids in poverty than the schools in the richer districts.

 

As an example, in a richer district, a school with a 4 percent poverty rate gets extra state funding. However in a poorer district, a school with up to a 50 percent poverty rate gets NO extra funding for being a "poor" school. They have the misfortune of being in a poor district, so they deserve no extra funding even though they have way more kids in poverty than any school in the rich district.

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We don't have to pay for AP classes, only the tests. The local high school offers 16 AP classes (and I am not a huge fan of the Extreme AP Attitude I often see around here. Race To Nowhere has a lot to say about this.) Our property taxes are 3,000/yr. There is no separate education tax. The library alone is worth it's weight in gold, and includes an extensive ILL service that is 'free'. I feel beyond lucky, and I consider it all a bargain of epic proportions.

Edited by LibraryLover
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Last I checked in our state, "poor" schools didn't get extra state money -- the schools that got state money were those that were "poor for their district". In other words, schools that had the most poor students in each district got extra money. There are many schools in the poorer districts that DON'T get extra state funding, even though they have more kids in poverty than the schools in the richer districts.

 

As an example, in a richer district, a school with a 4 percent poverty rate gets extra state funding. However in a poorer district, a school with up to a 50 percent poverty rate gets NO extra funding for being a "poor" school. They have the misfortune of being in a poor district, so they deserve no extra funding even though they have way more kids in poverty than any school in the rich district.

 

OK...take out the word "poor"

 

Many districts get what is referred to as "state money" but it is really taxpayers' money. NYS also gets "federal money" that is really taxpayers' money.

 

My point is that even though I pay a separate school tax, it still isn't ALL the money I pay for education.

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OK...take out the word "poor"

 

Many districts get what is referred to as "state money" but it is really taxpayers' money. NYS also gets "federal money" that is really taxpayers' money.

 

My point is that even though I pay a separate school tax, it still isn't ALL the money I pay for education.

 

But doesn't the state money come from the school tax? It does here.

 

Of the separate school property tax I pay, approximately 40% pays for educating students in our town and 60% is distributed by the state to other school districts in Vermont.

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My 13 yo who attends public middle school hasn't had any fees. I spent around $60 on school supplies and aside from $12 for one field trip last fall I can't think of any money she's needed for school. She's in the school play which does not have a fee with it other than having to provide her own costume.

 

For our family I think it's been cheaper to have dd attend school. We are considering having her at home next year and from some of the stuff we are considering I know PS would be way cheaper. The money is not a factor in our decision.

 

I know our high school charges $95 to play a sport. I think that is an incredible deal. Even rec sports around here for older kids are generally at least $100 plus equipment.

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We don't have to pay for AP classes, only the tests. The local high school offers 16 AP classes (and I am not a huge fan of the Extreme AP Attitude I often see around here. Race To Nowhere has a lot to say about this.) Our property taxes are 3,000/yr. There is no separate education tax. The library alone is worth it's weight in gold, and includes an extensive ILL service that is 'free'. I feel beyond lucky, and I consider it all a bargain of epic proportions.

 

This is how ours works. DD is in AP Biology right now. We haven't paid anything for it yet and won't if she doesn't take the exam. We also pay about the same in taxes and have a wonderful library with free ILL.

 

I've never heard of a public school district that offered so few classes that a student could wind up in 4-5 study halls a day. How do they have the required credits to graduate that way? Does the state require so little of students to graduate?

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