Public education is tuition-free but not completely free of expenses. Schools may not charge fees for anything related to a course grade, such as textbooks, workbooks, or laboratory supplies necessary for an instructional class. However, students must buy their own pencils, paper, pens, erasers, notebooks, and other personal items on the school supply list.
In the 2011-12 legislative session, legislators cut $5.4 billion from education financing. Consequently, some schools do not have enough money to fund certain programs and services, and must either eliminate those programs or services or charge parents for them. One example is school bus transportation. The state used to provide enough funding to pay for busing children to and from school, but the recent cuts have forced some schools to begin charging for school bus service. Read more about the impact budget cuts have had on Texas public schools.
Expenses you can expect are:
All school districts must have procedures to waive a fee if the student or parent is unable to pay it. You can find that procedure in your school’s Student Handbook. Also available in the Student Handbook is information on the national Free and Reduced Price Lunch program. For more information, see the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Web site.