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Florida Schools Rank 44th out of 51…What?!

Christmas spread or back to school?
Christmas spread or back to school?

Ponte Vedra schools begin next week, making this the whirlwind week before school starts. I knocked out one of my least favorite activities of the year today at Target – school supply shopping. I assumed everyone hated it, but funnily I have spoken to several parents who love it…and their kids love it. With two boys, it’s hectic and agitating. Where are the Ticonderoga pencils? Will Up&Up pencils not do?

Every year I bitch about how much stuff there is on the list. A second grader needs 48 crayons? A fifth grader needs 36 pencils? The grand total came to around $100 for two kids.

As I got ready to write a humorous post about how much I was spending and needing to take out a loan to fund school supplies, I decided to look up some data on school spending. Did you know that this year St Johns County has a little over $6,900 to spend per student, according to Darrell Collee, Budget Director for St Johns County Schools. That’s down from around $7200 in 2007.  To give you some perspective, the national average per student expenditure is around $12,000. Good gravy!

According to the 2013 Census on Publication Education, Florida ranked 44th out of 51 states (including DC) in student spending. Ouch. Please see page 11. I would screen cap it, but my computer screen isn’t large enough to capture #1 and #44 in one screen cap. Take that in for a second.

Bottom line, for me and anyone else out there who wants to make jokes about taking out a loan to get school supplies, is, feel free to feel agitated about your spoiled child asking for a new backpack or an iPad, but shell out the dineros for supplies and maybe even buy extra. If not, your teacher, whose starting salary is $38,000 or his/her associate teacher, who makes just over $26,000, will likely be buying supplies for them.

With all this said, there’s no need to pack up and move. Ponte Vedra schools rank #1 on the education front for the state (for facts click here) in spite of the budget, which is a testament to our hard working teachers and staff. Plus, there are the power house PTOs that work to supplement your child’s education dollars. More on that tomorrow!

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