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Guidelines for Elementary School Fees and Supplies

General Guidelines Regarding Course-related Fees

  • Every school provides without charge the textbooks, supplementary readers, audio/visual aids, stationery, and materials of instruction needed to teach the curriculum or needed by students to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum.
  • A definition of these terms has been established and used to determine whether or not a fee may be charged.  These terms were drawn from legal, policy, and regulatory mandates.
  • If a particular material of instruction becomes the personal property of the student, the student may supply this item or the student may be charged a fee for the item.
  • There is a waiver available for any student fees.
  • All items used for instruction must be available in the classroom in class sets provided by the school.  Individual student organizational tools and stationery supplies also should be available in case a student forgets his/her items at home.
  • Any allowable fee must be for the cost of the item only—for example, no overcharge may be assessed to paying students to offset the costs absorbed by the school for students who are unable to pay.
  • Each principal will determine, in collaboration with the school leadership, if allowable fees will be charged or allowable personal supply items will be provided by the student.  No school is required to charge students allowable fees or required to request approved personal supply items be provided by students.
  • Students may be charged transportation and associated fees for a field trip, but not in advance as a course fee.  The amount charged should be the expense (bus, admission, chaperones, substitutes—if required, etc.)divided by the number of students expected to attend.  Although the final student cost may be rounded to the nearest dollar for ease of collection, for example no overcharge may be assessed to paying students to offset the costs absorbed by the school for students who are unable to pay.

Textbooks and Supplementary Readers

  • Textbooks and supplementary readers are defined as the primary or secondary source or sources directly used in instruction.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to provide textbooks or supplementary readers without cost to the student.  Each elementary classroom should have the supply required for instruction (as needed or classroom set).
    • Examples of supplementary readers are as follows:
      • Dictionary
      • Scholastic News
      • Thesaurus
      • Time for Kids
      • Weekly Reader
      • World atlas
  • If a periodical is not used for instruction or assessed for mastery but is used as an independent resource, a fee may be charged.
  • Workbooks that are necessary to teach the curriculum or which students need to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum are considered as textbooks. (See Policy IIB, Evaluation and Selection, and Regulation IIB-RA, Evaluation and Selection of Instructional Materials and Library Books.)
    • The approval process requires five signatures, including program supervisor, on Form 365-25, Record of Evaluation for Instructional Materials.
    • Schools deciding to require the use of an allowable workbook may not charge a fee for the workbook.
    • Examples of possible workbooks are workbooks used for recorder (musical instrument) instruction and practice.

 Audio/Visual Aids

  • Audio/visual aids are defined as equipment used by a teacher to deliver the curriculum
  • It is the school’s responsibility to provide audio/visual aids without cost to the student.  Each elementary classroom should have the supply required for instruction (as needed or classroom set).
    • An example of an audio/visual aid is head phones.

Stationery

  • Stationery is defined as paper and writing utensils not commonly found in the home and required for the student to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to provide stationery not commonly found in the home and required for the student to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum without cost to the student.  Each elementary classroom should have the supply required for instruction (as needed or classroom set).
    • Example of stationery are as follows:
      • Highlighters
      • Pencils, primary
      • Pencils, colored
      • Picture paper
      • Post-it notes
      • Primary writing paper
      • Transition paper
  • Students may be asked to bring paper and writing utensils commonly found in the home to school as personal supplies.  (Please see the section below: Indivdiual Student Organizational Tools and Personal Supplies)  Classroom sets of personal supplies also should be available in case a student forgets his/her items at home.

School Supplies

  • School supplies are defined as building or office materials needed to operate schools.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to provide school supplies.  Each elementary classroom should have the supply required for instruction (as needed or classroom set).
    • Examples of school supplies are as follows:
      • Band-Aids
      • Dry erase markers
      • Erasers, large
      • Facial tissue
      • Index box cards, A-Z
      • Paper towels
      • Pencil sharpener
      • Three-hole punch
      • Toilet paper

Materials of Instruction

  • Materials of instruction are defined as items needed by the educator to teach the course content and/or items needed by the student to demonstrate mastery of the course content
  • Students may not be charged for materials of instruction unless, as noted below
    • The materials are used to create a product eaten by the student
    • The materials are used to create a product that becomes the property of the student
    • The materials become the personal property of the student for reasons of personal hygiene or industry requirements
  • It is the school’s responsibility to provide materials of instruction without cost to the student unless the item meets the exceptions listed above.  Each elementary classroom should have the supply required for instruction (classroom set).
    • Examples of materials of instruction are as follows:
      • Calculator
      • Circle compass
      • Comp book/ journal
      • Crayons
      • Data binders
      • Glue sticks/white glue
      • Jump drive/ memory stick
      • Protractor
      • Ruler
      • Scissors
  • Some items may be materials of instruction for in-class work but also provided by the parent for homework or individual use.  These items are commonly found at home or available in many stores.  For example, if students are using scissors or a simple compass or protractor for an in-class lesson, the items are materials of instruction and must be provided by the school for in-class use.  If a student is using scissors or a simple compass or protractor to complete a homework assignment—those are personal supplies provided by the parent to support his/her child’s learning.
  • Musical Instruments—the instrumental music teacher should have a reasonable selection of instruments on hand for student to use at no charge.  If a student’s preferred instrument is unavailable, a student has the option of renting the preferred instrument from a music store.
  • If the material of instruction becomes the personal property of the student, a fee may be charged.
    • An example of a material of instruction that becomes the personal property of the student is a recorder.

Individual Student Organizational Tools and Personal Supplies

Parent/teacher/school partnerships are key to preparing all students to achieve at high levels.  Parents equip students with important organizational tools for success in class.

  • Students may be expected to bring individual organizational tools and personal supplies from home.
  • Each school may decide the items recommended for students to bring from home.
    • Examples of individual organizational tools and personal supplies that may be supplied by the parents are as follows:
      • Crayons
      • Eraser tops of #2 pencils
      • Glue Sticks/white glue
      • Hole punch, for notebook
      • Loose-leaf notebook paper
      • Notebook dividers
      • Pencil box or zipper pouch
      • Pencils, #2
      • Pens, ballpoint
      • Personal binders/notebooks
      • Personal Spiral/ Composition Book
      • Pocket folders
  • Some items may be provided by the parent for homework or individual use but also provided in class sets by the school for in-class work.  These items are commonly found at home or available in many stores.
  • Student Planners—If a planner is used in the school’s procedures as a hall pass, it must be provided without charge.  Grades may not be given for student planner checks.

Parent Donations

Parent donations of items that enhance the classroom experience are welcomed.  This includes donations from individual parents, organized by class parents, or organized/donated by the PTA.

  • These are not required donations and no parent will be expected to provide these items.
    • Example of items that may be donated by parents include the following:
      • Baby wipes
      • Box of assorted plastic forks, spoons, and knives.
      • Brown paper grocery bags
      • Used, clean socks for cleaning white boards
      • Clear, empty, 2-liter soda bottles
      • Disinfectant wipes
      • Facial tissues
      • Hand sanitizer
      • Money for class snacks/celebrations
      • Paper plates
      • Paper towels
      • Stickers
      • Used tennis balls (with 2” slit)
      • Gallon-size plastic storage bags
      • Sandwich-size plastic storage bag

Waiver of Fees Form

Students and parents are not required to provide documentation to justify a waiver.

  • Teachers have a role and responsibility to advocate for a student through the waiver process.

Montgomery County Public Schools

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