East Ridge parents lining up for school registration Monday morning were treated with a pleasant surprise. East Ridge Elementary Principal Gail Huffstutler had decided to lower the requested school supply fee from $50 per child to $30 per child, providing a much-needed $20 per child discount to the parents of the over 1000 children who attend East Ridge Elementary.
“I was thinking about it last night, about how much the families need to spend, and I decided to lower the fee to help make it a little more affordable to East Ridge Elementary families.” Mrs. Huffstutler said.
The block grants that schools receive to pay for instructional materials were lowered in 2004 due to budget cuts, officials said. Since 2004 the amount each school receives has remained the same while the cost of the supplies have increased. The fee charges by schools help them cover the gap between the money they receive and the increasing cost of the supplies they need.
The fee for fiscal year 2015 – 2016 of $50 was approved by the Hamilton County Board of Education at the May 21st school board meeting. During this meeting a lengthy discussion took place about the ever increasing cost of school fees and the burden they put on the families. Mrs. Huffstutler said that school board approval was not required to reduce the fee at her school.
At East Ridge Elementary the fees are used to supply workbooks, art supplies, copy supplies, copy paper, PE equipment, music supplies, technology equipment, computer lab supplies, and educational programs. They are also considered vital by many school leaders to help meet school educational needs.
Posted on the registration tables were signs letting parents know about the reduction and exactly what the fees are used for. It also informed parents that in the 2014 – 2015 school year fees were only paid by about 30% of the students.
Using last year’s final enrollment number of 1029 students, this reduction would mean a potential savings of over $20,000 for East Ridge Elementary families.