Question: PTO Fees?

This is my first time dealing with Kindergarten. My son will be entering in the fall. I just found out there is a $75 PTO fee due at registration! Is this mandatory? How can I be expected to pay a "supply fee" when I just spent $50 today buying supplies! I don't understand this PTO stuff and amd a little ticked off that I have to fork out another $75, after clothes, supplies, and every other cost involved in sending a child to school. I didn't join the PTO, so is it necessary for me to pay?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rockne writes:
Hi - I'd say the big question is whether you're at a private school or a public schol. I'm betting private. If private, then they can basically charge tuition and fees as they see fit, and your recourse is to pay, advocate for changes, or take your child out. Oftne in privates, parents consider "tuition + fees" as their total cost. I agree with you that sneaking a whole bunch of fees in leaves a bad taste and that the school would be better off being more open and simple with costs. If public, the school likely can't force you to pay those fees -- no. And those fees are unusually high, especially if presented as virtually an expectation or requirement. Hope this helps. Tim

Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
I'd recommend that you call the school to get a clarification about what this fee covers and why you're being asked to pay it. Because school budgets have been cut to the bone, some schools ask for activity fees or similar to cover expenses. For instance, you might be asked to pay extra so your child can participate in an after-school program or play sports. Unfortunately, that's the reality of education budgets today. I don't know what a "supply fee" is, and it's hard to guess at without more information. If the PTO is asking for the money, however, I doubt it's mandatory (assuming your child will be attending a public school). By the way, PTOs play an important role in building school community. There's plenty of research that shows that a good PTO, by helping to get parents involved in their children's education, can make a real difference in the success of a school. For a kindergarten parent, getting connected to the PTO can be a great way to learn the ins and outs of the school (like what this supply fee is) and to get to know parents of children in your child's class. I hope you will check it out, despite the fact that they're starting off on this negative foot.

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