Skip to content
Canajun Finances Home » I Thought Public School Was Free?

I Thought Public School Was Free?

Another historical post from the days when my daughters went to public schools. Was public school was free? Yes, but not really.

I was running low on ideas and asked my wife for a topic for today’s blog, and she came up with the cost of our “free” education system. She had been out shopping for back-to-school supplies (a HUGE industry in itself) and was telling me about all the “bargains” she was going to have to find to pay for all of the unwritten educational expenses.

Not Optional

These are expenses you can’t escape from, and you MUST pay:

  • $45.00 yearbook & agenda/year fee which is not optional (per child). My kids in High School can’t even get their schedule before they pay this fee.
  • $10.00 for the agenda at my elementary daughter’s school
  • Class fees for individual classes:
    • Art fee $25.00
    • Music Fee $25.00 not to do with the instrument rental
    • Musical instrument rental or purchase which can be anywhere from $100 to $800
    • Physics Fee $10
    • Tech Fee $30
    • Music Fee $35.00

Not that much, I guess around $100 – 200.00 per child, all due in September.

Optional Expenses

These are the added expenses you can try not to pay or find ways around them, but some are more optional than others. An example would be I can’t buy bus passes for my daughters who go to a school a 20-minute drive away, but I will include them here for the sake of fairness in the model.

  • Yearbook fee of $15.00 for elementary/middle school
  • $200.00 since one of my daughters plays on the school basketball team
  • Food
    • Pizza $45/child/3 months
    • Juice $38/child/3 months
    • Pita Bread $40/child/3 months
  • Class photos $40
  • Fees for athletics $20.00
  • Team fees for football $32.00
  • Fees Curling $50.00
  • Tournament fees for basketball $115.00
  • Skiing $60.00 for club
  • End of year camp $187.50
  • Gym Fees $24.00 for self defense
  • Team fee softball $45
  • Monthly Bus Passes $58.00 per month Per Child
  • Band shirt $25.00

The bus passes are not cheap. A lot of the school athletics, and you can see these expenses can be anywhere from $100-$800.00 for a child over the year.

Now, this does not include things like:

  • Pencils, pencil cases, crayons and such
  • Paper, binders and the like
  • Computer, and computer paper
  • Clothing for the start of the year

Does anybody else know why I don’t have any money in September? Just take a guess. Public school was free? Nope.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Sure, as long as you keep my related articles section and point back to the original posting, no problem.


  2. nancy (aka money coach)
    • that was a great, super-practical post that a lot of canadians will resonate with.
      Would you be willing for me to post it as a guest post on my blog ( next Thursday?
  3. Good idea, the reason I can rhyme off most of the fees from last year is that we write cheques for each of them, and put a note on each as to what they were for, so none of those mentioned “fees” were made up, and in fact I think we have missed a couple of other items.


  4. A lot of these fees are functions of WHERE the school is, thus schools where there are mothers on welfare, may not have as much, however my guess is there are two possilibities:

    1) Their kids are out of luck
    2) They can go “hat in hand” and ask for a dispensation from these fees.

  5. I wonder if those non-optional fees would stand up to a court challenge.

    What do the single moms on welfare do about these fees?

  6. Your mileage may vary, and you may be able to claim poverty, but a lot of these fees are mandatory.

    I bitch every year to my School Trustee about paying $170/month to transport my kids to school.


  7. Wow, thanks for the heads up.

    I’m a few years away from these costs but it’s good to know about them.

    $10 physics fee?? blah!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Verified by MonsterInsights