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The high price of a 'free' education

Original post made on Aug 23, 2010

Parents, get out your checkbooks -- it's back-to-school time. Free -- that is, tax-supported education -- has been basic a basic tenet of American life since the early 1800s, but over the years, the definition of "free" seems to have been watered down.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 22, 2010, 3:03 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by Danville Mom, a resident of Danville
on Aug 23, 2010 at 6:53 am

What is done for families that cannot afford the fees? Does the PTA provide assistance for these children to make sure they can participate? I sure hope that the school communities takes care of others in need.


Posted by Caroline, a resident of Danville
on Aug 23, 2010 at 11:44 am

Yes, the school communities do take care of those families who cannot afford to write the extra checks. Whether it be school supplies, field trips, outdoor ed camps, the school communities want to make sure that every child is included.


Posted by Isabel Lau, a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I just want to make a few corrections to your story.

You seem to interchange the terms Academic Boosters and Eduction Funds. While they work similarly the group at California High School is an Academic Booster. Similar to Ed Funds at elementary and middle schools our monies go toward extra class sections that help reduce class size, teacher grants for materials and tools needed in their classrooms, stipends for academic clubs, among other items.

I'm the parent of a senior at CHS and I paid $210 for my son's package. The Underclassman package was $115. I'm unclear where you got your $305 figure.

Unless students lose their locks (cost $5) this is a one time purchase. They don't have to purchase a new lock each year.

The figures you are using for sports, band, and choir are also incorrect.


Posted by Mimi, a resident of Danville
on Aug 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I've often wondered what other school foundations in the SRVUSD have asked in per student donations and the participation rates of families. Our elementary school's foundation is asking for $495 per student this year! I don't know the current participation rate, but I recall eight years ago the rate was disclosed as 33% of families made donations (but not necessarily the full amount).

On a bigger point, the local PTA has been struggling for years (over a decade) to get the state to increase the student dollars per head to be in parody with like school districts. I think the SRVUSD is still 2nd to last in the amount of student dollars per head for CA.

In the end I support making donations to the school foundations and paying the additional property taxes because this money will directly benefit our students & schools and not be redirected by the state to another school district that is reimbursed a higher dollar per head.


Posted by Derek, a resident of Danville
on Aug 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Better to pay it here, than save $183 & have my daughter go to a school in Hayward (or fill in your own fave armpit-of-the-bay-area town).


Posted by Glenn Wohltmann, a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

I've corrected the price of the packages in my original story and I'm checking the use of the term educational fund as opposed to the school's academic boosters. The price of sports, band and choir was provided by a parent.


Posted by Smith, a resident of Danville
on Aug 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

I ain't got have any money tree.


Posted by Mrs. Jones, a resident of Alamo
on Aug 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm

My sister lives in DC and the education, bus transportation and hot meals that her children recieved along with computers in the classroom (20 years ago) speaks volumes.

I have voted by supporting school props/ building projects and any student that comes though my neigborhood selling wrapping paper or cookie dough.

I just can understand why we can not stay in budget and have a quality education. My children now attend private school. (I pay out of pocket about the same, due to donations, auction items and the non stop checkbook use)

How is it that a private run school can balance the budget?


Posted by Danville Dad, a resident of Danville
on Aug 31, 2010 at 8:09 pm

There is a lot of misunderstanding about these donations. People seem to forget that the $500-$1000 per year asked, requested, or demanded in supplies, fees, donations, and such is on top of property and income taxes that we pay before and after our children are in these so-called public schools.

Given the value of property in Danville and the average incomes for the area, we already pay a tremendous amount for public schools and will keep paying long after our children have graduated. And yet the schools push the cost of supplies and support staff out to the parents so they can hide the way they have mismanaged our money over the years. We are about to hit the wall in their budgets where they will be asking parents to send toilet paper for the bathrooms and contribute funds to pay electricity and other operational utilities. When will this end?


Posted by John, a resident of Danville
on Dec 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

The earlier you start the more financial aid you might receive. If you have a senior who's going to college next year, start getting ready now regardless of where they might be attending . Here are some tips regarding financial aid. Web Link


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