4 thoughts on “Middle School String Participation Fee – Error Corrected”

  1. Thanks for posting Barb.
    This is very interesting. I spent two full days preparing for the Jefferson Middle School registration, and I worked all three registration mornings. We received 3 different “fee” forms from downtown. All with errors concerning instruments, fee for music and strings. We finally just made our own form and this should have eliminated the confusion for our school. But in the process I was amazed, 1. at the fact that everyone downtown obviously showed up Monday to get organized for the registration that occurred Wed – Friday of that week. Based on many mistakes, a few more days of preparation would have prevented printing error fees three times not to mention the time, waste and energy used each time.
    2. That registration is being held when 1/3 of the parents are out of town. Why not have it the week prior to school? This way the kinks could be worked out. 3. If I had not helped at Jefferson I am unsure how it would have gotten done. The only person that was paid to prepare for registration was our one secretary. We had no one else there to organize, copy and set up the registration. It was an interesting and sad process. We have really cut the schools to the bare minimum and the 30 hour work week I put in was free. Who is doing this at other schools?

  2. Other unpaid (and taking time off from work in many cases!) parents are doing it at other schools too. At least at our elementary school, a few “diehard” (intended in a very good way!) teachers come too, and help run lines, answer questions, greet students and parents, etc. The weirdest part about the elementary registration is that it went from 11-6, when most of the activity was right at the start, or between 4:30 and 6. I was at ours from 3-5, and we had maybe 30 people come through in that whole time period. Our elementary schools are mUCH smaller than the middle schools, for the most part, yet they have many hours more time for registration. Toki’s was very crowded for the seventh grade date, and I imagine it was on the other days too. But they allowed just over two hours for each grade level (the size of a small elementary school!), and we spent the huge majority of our time there in the line to pay all those stupid fees that they couldn’t even tell us were or were not correct. Given just what I had to pay for my sixth grader’s registration at Spring Harbor (including a bus pass at $125 for one semester!) we spent over $350.00 for ONE student’s fees (and school photo) to register at an allegedly PUBLIC school. This is, of course, not including the school supplies we are supposed to bring for each of our children on the first day of school!
    I guess I am glad to get the $70 back for strings, and that is substantial. But I still have to ask why on earth we have to pay (at a PUBLIC school), for our kids’ CITY BUS passes ($125 per semester!), yet the school district has to pay to bus private school students, or pay private school parents over $350 each to bring their own darn kids to school each day? I know that some of the fees are “optional” (like, a yearbook and any school pictures), and that they don’t “have to” take band or strings (they can always take chorus, I guess, though the impression is that those are most of the kids who don’t care). Many of the fees are not optional – and even after paying for all that last year at my son’s sixth grade registration at Toki, we were still constantly getting notes at home that we now had to pay a “technology fee”, or for a band book (why did we have to pay band fees at registration then?!), or for art materials, now they need a second semester bus pass (another $125), and so on. Honestly, if we had not just taken out a home equity loan in August to pay off other bills and get a needed car, I don’t know how we would have afforded our three children’s “public” school fees. For a 7th grader, 6th grader and 3rd grader (again, not counting school supplies), we had to pay out over $650 in two days!! The only reason it was not $900, is because the 3rd grader does not play an instrument yet, and the 7th grader didn’t need a regular semester bus pass because we can drop him off most days (though we do have to buy him a load of ten-ride-passes each semester for him to get home!). Oh, yeah, and we did not put any money in their lunch accounts yet either! We are not poor by any means, but we struggle to make it between paychecks on a regular basis. Some of the fees can be waived or lowered if you get free or reduced lunch, but anyone else is expected to pay all of this out-of-pocket? Wow. And then I think back to how seldomly we even were allowed to buy hot lunch because it was “so expensive” (at about 1/4 of the current cost).
    Sorry, I know this is kind of off the topic, but….

  3. I appreciate your comments Millie. I think people without kids would be surprised that their property taxes don’t cover classroom materials. I encourage you to write a letter to the editor of Cap Times or WSJ.
    I also wonder what registration costs. We used to just show up the first day of school after recieving a postcard from our child’s teacher. It was my understanding that they started a registration day to cut down on mailing costs. If only 1/3 of the kids show up why not go back to postcards?

  4. I think a central reason that the registration days have become important is to give schools time to adjust class lists before the first day, and to try to protect the office from a day one deluge. Mobility rates in the district are surprisingly high in many of our schools. Knowing prior to the first day who has registered across town (and has left an opening on one of our class lists), allows time to make better class placement decisions for new registrants. Yes, we still have some students arrive on the first or second day, but they are a small number relative to the influx on registration day and during the subsequent week.
    Is registration understaffed? Yes. Budget cuts year after year chip away at the money available for schools to spend. When we talk about trimming “non-classroom” costs, these are the types of services that get sacrificed.

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