What Does School Really Cost?
Some kids get lunch for free. How does this get paid for?

My name is Emily and I am a middle school student. Many kids at my school believe that public school is free, because there is no fee. For some, even lunch is paid for.

Before writing this article, I knew that school must cost some money. After all, how else could someone hire and pay teachers?

But my sense of the cost was fuzzy. In researching this article, I learned a lot, and I believe some of this information will surprise you.

Did you know that most public school systems spend $7,000 to $8,000 for each student, every year, and that in some states it’s as high as $13,000? So where does all that money go?

How do schools use the money?

One of the biggest expenses for a school is transportation. Many kids ride the bus. Schools need money to run buses, and to pay the bus drivers.

Then there is the cost of lunch. Even though most students pay about $1.90 for their lunches, this only pays about half of the costs. The schools have to buy the food, transport it, prepare it, and hire cooks and servers.

What about other kinds of school?

The most obvious expense is hiring and paying teachers.

And then there are materials. Teachers often buy the extra pencils and crayons in some classrooms with their own money. But the school provides some things, like computers and projectors or calculators.

Any extracurricular clubs, programs, or sports also make a dent in the school's budget. The point is that education, private or public, costs money. And lots of it.

You know that money doesn't just "appear" out of nowhere...

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