Parents forced to fork out amid hefty ‘Back to School’ fees
LIVING off a single income as a family of five is sure to bring with it the usual challenges.
Factor in the annual ‘Return to School’ costs for three young kids, and the ability to remain financially stable becomes one of uncertainty.
Unfortunately, that is the reality for Daniel Bryson and his partner, whose children attend Kruger State School at Redbank Plains.
With his little girl starting Year Two and two boys headed into Year Three and Six, Mr Bryson has been forced to cough up over $500 for new school supplies.
“Our school’s pretty fortunate that they’re quite lenient on the school shirts,” he said.
“They do have a school shirt, but our kids are allowed to wear shirts from Big W as long as it’s the right shade of green.”
He said so far about $140 had been spent on each of his children.
Just some of the items include three T-shirts at $15 each, three pairs of $12 shorts and socks with a price tag of about $10 each.
The total cost of a hat, school bag, new shoes, drink bottle and lunch box for just one child each added up to a little over $100.
“My eldest son, he has the Year Six T-shirt this year as well, the memento ones the class makes up. That’s going to cost us $45 each,” he said.
Mr Bryson also takes advantage of a government resource scheme which costs about $12 per fortnight for each child – or about $375 per year.
“You can opt to get the booklist and go buy it all yourself, but once the kids run out you’ve got to restock it all, so we just pay the money,” he said.
“With this, the kids get their books, pencil cases and stationery provided by the school whenever they need it.”
Food shopping had also set him back about $80 more compared to previous bills.
Mr Bryson, however, noted other families across Ipswich had it much worse.
“If both parents are working and can’t run around it to find cheaper items it can end up quite expensive, especially with schools that require compulsory laptops.”
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Other frustrated parents have taken to social media to express the high costs they are facing.
Ann Mclean wrote: “It’s the cost of uniforms that are expensive, the other fees are reasonable and can be paid off throughout the year.”
Meanwhile, Sara Tanner said she had begun to stockpile supplies well in advance to avoid a large lump sum payment.
“Knowing I had a second child starting this year, I have been shopping since mid-last year, adding a few things into our regular shop so it wasn’t as much when I did our back to school shop after Christmas,” she wrote.
“If I didn’t have the option of Afterpay it would be much harder to get the things we need for the school year.”
Single mother Mel McWhirter agreed, saying there was no such thing as a free education these days – especially for high schoolers.
“I manage to provide for my 2 high schoolers by budgeting strictly all year for school expenses,” she wrote.
“My kid’s fees this year are $250 for Year 8 and $300 for Year 10. $670 for uniforms for both kids.”