Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Please pay NOW!




I’m going to rant about something our local school does that really bugs me. It’s an excellent school otherwise. Here’s an example of what I’m bugged about:

Dear Parents,

Your child’s class will be going on a day trip on Whatever Date and it will cost £11. Please could you bring the money in by tomorrow.


Or

Dear Parents,

Your child’s class is going on a week trip on Whatever Date and the deposit of £50 must be in by tomorrow. The rest will be paid in monthly instalments of £80, starting at the end of the month. This is a voluntary contribution and no child will be penalised if you don’t pay, but remember, if we don’t receive enough funds, the trip will be cancelled.


1: Guilt trip. If I don’t pay, and if others don’t pay, the trip will be cancelled, spoiling it for those who can pay.

2: Sometimes, well actually, 99% of the time, I don’t have the deposit on hand to give in by the next day or the following week. I work our money out monthly, so if they said by next month, that would work with a bit of jiggling.

3: The instalments are too high. They have an option where you can tell the receptionist you need to pay lesser instalments over a longer period of time, but I hate the fact that I have to then admit I can’t afford the large wads of cash and them knowing about it.

4: They KNOW about these trips and the dates of them well in advance—they do these trips every damn year—so WHY can’t they alert us well before they do so we can budget?

One year, when my youngest son was in year 6, they did a week trip where there were only so many places available. Let’s say there were 36 places and 56 kids. The deposit of £50 had to be in by the end of the week, which, by the time we got the letter, gave us about 2 days to find the money. First come first served. I had NO WAY of finding that money in time, so my son lost out on going. What we ended up doing was taking out a loan in the summer and the whole family going to the same area in the same week my son would have gone with his school friends. We carted him around to the places the school would have taken him. It cost us a fortune, my son missed out on the fun with his friends, and I was pissing LIVID that they’d booked a place with limited spaces. WHY DO THAT knowing all the kids wanted to go, and that some would be majorly disappointed and remember not going for the rest of their lives? Also, those kids who couldn’t go had to hear all about it when the others got back.

I just had to rant about it. It’s unfair and also let’s the rich people know who the less well-off are. They stand there all smug they were able to pay, while normal people like us are made to feel unworthy, looked upon with pitying glances or scorn. It pisses me the HELL OFF!

What gets you like this with money demands? It could be anything: kids, bills, schools, whatever. Just let off some steam and tell me about it!

25 comments:

Ms. Heather said...

I've actually had the same gripe. Right before Christmas this year, too. I remember when the biggest pot my parents had to come up with was for the 4 day field trip we took. Now, it's $15 here, and $25 there. That really adds up! I mean, I know it's important to see and do things hands on, but really, what happened to government funding? I have no problem offering my support to the schools, but they seem to want everything right now. With two kids, it's hard enough. I can't imagine the cost of having more. I guess it's true. The children ARE our future. Look how much extra we are investing in them... "Sorry, little Timmy. You don't get breakfast today, or all this week for that matter. But hey, you get to go on this really cool field trip."

C. Zampa said...

All I can say is that it makes me very glad my child is grown. I remember those days.

And, if you were a single parent like myself,the expense of those activities only accented the financial differences between me and other, more affluent families wo could afford them.

In the end, the child suffers for such thoughtlessness on the school's part.

Good that you brought this out.

Sarah Masters said...

Yep, you're so right, Heather. We have to cut back on other things so they can go on these trips. When you have a set budget, anything like this that comes along effs the whole thing up. I always manage it somehow, but a little more notice would help me a great deal.

:o)

Sarah Masters said...

I agree, CZ. I know some single-parent families on extremely low budgets who struggle to pay rather than go to the receptionist and admit they're on low incomes or benefits because they're afraid their child will get picked on if others know they're not rich.

The pitfalls of living in a village where 95% of residents are loaded.

:o)

anny cook said...

Sigh... My bitch? The darn fundraisers that start the first week of school. Usually, it's something NO ONE wants! So when the grandkid comes home with their little brochure, what in the world do you tell them?

Tess MacKall said...

Oh yeah. Been there, done that. Field trips drive me insane in general.

I spent a lot of time with PTA helping organize and raise money for some of these trips. These organizations paint them as being so great for the child's education. And OUR state suggests we go through the museum system for our state or through our arts council. Lots of programs available for a flat rate. So we did that--several times over the years.

And what I discovered is that they aren't worth the money. Period.

Now that's not to say all field trips aren't. But the ones our schools kept doing just weren't all that and a bag of chips.

We did some with our girl scout troop that were absolutely amazing. But, the moms put those together ourselves. Like visiting the Lemurs in Durham. Or going down to Myrtle Beach State Park and taking part in their various coastal wildlife programs. And we even did a Disney educational hop. Very very good.

But the ones they kept throwing at us in the school system just weren't as good as we were paying for.

And I experienced a lot of that same anger at the pricing and the availability of seats, etc. But honestly? In the past couple of years--at my kid's school anyway--field trips are pretty non-existent due to the economy.

Our principal really listened to parents about money. AND...those expensive class projects are a lot fewer than they were too. Thank God for that.

Sarah Masters said...

Yessssssss, Anny! Bloody handmade chocolates or kitchenware, or packs of bloody greeting cards that they're selling for a tenner when you can get a pack of ten in the shop in town for 99p!

ARGHHHHHHHHHH!

:o)

Tess MacKall said...

hahahahahah, Anny. I hear ya on that one. I was fundraised OUT in middle school with my girls. In my oldest's eighth grade year, I quit pretty much everything. No more volunteering. I'd seen it all and was sick of it.

I remember the cheerleading coach doing a fundraiser for uniforms or something and sending this mess home. I asked her what the cost of my two girls' uniforms, shoes and all would be. She told me four hundred bucks for both. I wrote her a check and handed her back the fundraising books. I think it was for cookie dough. lol After that, I just paid my child's part and never ever again did anymore selling. Screw that.

Sarah Masters said...

Tess, I swear, when my Nat went on those trips, they didn't cost half as much as they do now. I know she went a few years ago, and inflation figures in it and all that, but the trips going up by so much like this? Drives me MAD!

:o)

Tess MacKall said...

Oh honey, our school WAS going to Disneyworld every spring with the entire eighth grade class--five day trip.

It was running about three hundred per student. Then gas prices jumped and then the economy was suddenly in the dumper. And all of a sudden that trip went up to five hundred a kid. So they canceled. They go to a local amusement park--in the state--now. And only for the day. No overnights.

Faith said...

I hate how my kids' school insists that we send a food or item donation for something by the end of the week and if my child doesn't bring it, then they sit in studyhall while the other kids who brought something get to go to the school carnival or the big party in the gym, etc.

That is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

And we have a similar problem here with school fees and class trips too. Pay school fee by x amount of time during the start of school when you've already shelled out a fortune for their clothing, supplies, laptops, etc. GRRRR!!!

And my youngest girl wanted to go on this amazing trip in North Carolina State. It was $400 for the trip and they'd be gone three days. It was for history, and they got to go on a train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains and wander about in this amazing historical mansion, etc.

Only problem was that they were only taking 50 kids, so the first 50 who signed up got to go.

What the hell??? You can't single kids out because you need more volunteers to help and don't have them, so you only want to deal with 50 kids as a result. If it's not an opp for all kids, then it shouldn't be done.

My dau was so disappointed because the sign-up sheet was filled the first afternoon.

Sarah Masters said...

It's all very unfair, Faith. I feel for the kids who can't go and have to sit and listen to the others going on about it when they get back. Talk about feeling like shit!

:o)

Melissa Bradley said...

I've had this gripe since I was in school. The school wants their money ASAP and if you can't afford it right then you're out. And all the kids know who can't afford to go. School is hard enough without everyone's financial circumstances being known.

Sarah Masters said...

Sad, isn't it, Melissa.

:o(

Faith said...

Amen to that, Melissa! I grew up poor, so I know what it's like to face that sort of treatment. I feel for any child who has to face the Look Down Our Noses Squad.

Melissa Bradley said...

I hear you Faith. I told some of those people if their noses were any farther in the air, they'd drown in a sudden downpour. :) I don't think they got that, though.

It is sad, Sarah because schools just don't understand finances. They not only have fees for everything, but they look at you blankly when you ask for things like extensions. And another thing, some schools add fees to tuition if you don't participate in the mandatory fundraiser and raise a certain amount of money. I remember getting jacked for $200 because that was the bare minimum amount of money I should have raised via the 20 dollar a pop raffle tix. "but, Ms. Bradley surely you could have sold 10 tickets in four weeks."

Faith said...

ARGH!!! Melissa I went through that for 6 years at my kids' last school. I told them they could stuff their fundraisers for sports, etc., up their friggin' asses. If they didn't funnel all the money they got into the bleepity-bleep football team, the other sports division would have plenty of money!

I'd volunteer to send in sloppy joe mix, chicken and noodles, pies, cookies etc., to help out and raise money at various sports games that way, but handing money over out of my pocket because they felt parents should have no problem paying x amount was a crock of crap. What? They think everyone has only one child? In my case it was 4 times $200! Not gonna happen!

Sarah Masters said...

OMG! I don't do that ticket thing. I still have all the Christmas ones on the shelf in the kitchen. I refuse to go around asking people to buy them.

That's terrible you have to pay out yourself on those, Melissa.

:-\

Anthology Authors said...

Our school sent out a letter with DD's information packet at the beginning of school stating that the school relied on every family donating $200 to the school for it to function properly. WTF?! Isn't that what our taxes are supposed to do?

At the beginning of each, the teachers post a wish list of supplies for the classroom. Some of the supplies listed for DD's first grade class: pencils, crayons, glue, erasers, colored pencils... I picked a slew up at WalMart in August for $10. The Culver City Superintendent gets a $900/month travel expense whether she uses it or not. Unless she's going to conferences or something really important, she shouldn't get that. That $900/month could be spent elsewhere (like on school supplies!)

Yeah, this kind of stuff irks me to no end too.

Sarah Masters said...

WHAT? You're shitting me, Marci. They don't even have the money for effing PENCILS and stuff?

Oh my God. Absolutely disgusting.

:-\

Faith said...

Sarah, most schools over here don't supply anything like that anymore. It's all left up to the parents to supply. Each one of my kids gets a supply list too, and I go from store to store trying to find the items. Some schools are even demanding a laptop for the kids and if the parent can't buy one, then they have to rent it monthly from the school.

Anthology Authors said...

I'm not, Sarah. Pencils. I asked her teacher this morning how her supplies were holding up. She opened the drawer. She had two 24 packs of pencils left, a couple of packs of colored pencils, and maybe a few other things. It was slim pickings in there. We are at mid year. I bought 8 24 packs of pencils for $2, 8 24 packs of crayons for $2, 8 bottles of glue for $2, and I think some erasers. With tax it was just under $10. Now, if you think about that $900, that could buy 3600 24 packs of pencils. It's awful.

They passed a property tax rate hike last year. $99/year more to help fund the music and arts programs in the schools in our district. It would raise some $1m or something like that. I asked one of the supporters of the measure if it guaranteed that the school board couldn't pull money from the music/arts budget since an extra $1m would be coming in from taxes. (I knew it didn't, having read it.) He said, "No." My response: WTF?! So, the school board will just steal money earmarked for the music/arts budget and use the money coming from the measure in its place. What f'ing good does that do? Whoever wrote that measure was an idiot.

Sarah Masters said...

Oh my bloody good God, Faith.

I'm gobsmacked.

:-\

Sarah Masters said...

Well, that's bloody disgusting, Marci. Terrible.

:-\

Faith said...

Same thing applies to the kids who want to go into band or music. Parent has to either buy the instrument or rent it from somewhere.