Ask a Mexican

This week we asked: How much are you spending on school supplies for your kids? Do you think the amount of supplies the schools ask for is excessive?

It’s back to school time, and parents are hitting the stores with lists of school supplies that their kids need. In Mexico, most parents not only have to buy pens, pencils and notebooks, but uniforms as well (for both private and public schools students). Sometimes they are also asked to buy supplies for the school, such as packs of printer paper for the school office.

 

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Israel Torres, 42, government worker

I have four kids in public school. I spend from $100 USD to $300, depending on which kid. They oldest are in culinary school and studying medicine, and the two youngest in high school. The cost may rise depending on which books the teachers ask them to buy. Some books are as expensive as $200, some others go for $20 or $30. And each kid needs about one or two notebooks and a couple of pens and pencils.

Lucio Rodriguez, 32, maintenance worker

I have two kids, one in elementary school, the other in middle school, both in the public system. We get government help with both which covers uniforms, supplies and books; the cost overall comes to $100 for both of them. If we did not have the government aid we would pay around $300 for the two kids.

Nancy Gomez, 42, stay at home mom

I have three children, they all go to public school. With my daughter in middle school I spend about $60. With the one in high school the cost goes to $100. In their school, some supplies are given but there are some teachers who get very picky and ask for a certain brand which is usually more expensive, not taking into consideration the fact that if our kids are in public school it’s because we can’t afford to spend a lot of money. My oldest daughter just got into university and I don’t really know how much I’ll spend on her, but it will probably be more.

Daniel Mazzola, 51, chauffeur

My kids are in school from elementary to university. With the younger ones, we have to help with the school maintenance, and this year they asked for an extra $60 they were renovating the bathrooms. Tuition fees are now prohibited in public school, so now they call it a “parents agreement.” Overall, we spend on each kid about $200. Plus, any extras like scientific calculators or drawing materials.

Elena Amezola, 48, homemaker

The kid I spend the most on is my son in middle school. They have to have three uniforms: one for Mondays, one for sports and another one for the regular days. Plus, the shoes are so expensive. I would rather buy one pair of good sneakers or shoes than a lot of cheap ones. The cost just goes up when we have to buy those. The uniforms can’t be bought in a pack, we have to buy the shirt, pants, sweater or sweatshirt separately, times three.

Margarita García, 43, security guard

I have two sons. The one in middle school gets this “package” from government with very a small notebooks and cheap coloring pencils and a backpack. It’s low quality stuff that doesn’t even work. On him I spend about $100. My oldest son goes to private university and I can only help him with half the money. Because he has a part-time job, I usually spend about $300 on him every month. I can barely make ends meet but we manage.