Southern California -- this just in

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Are you tired of getting stuck with the bill for school supplies?

February 11, 2010 |  2:11 pm
LopezA friend of mine, Mika Mingasson, bought a ream of paper recently for her daughter's Melrose Avenue Elementary School class because the school had run out. She said another parent bought five reams.

I guess there's an upside here, with supply shortages serving as a lesson in conservation. But Mika's tale reminded me how utterly commonplace it has become for parents and teachers to reach into their pockets because of budget cuts followed by more budget cuts.

The annual bake sale is now a weekly operation. Class sizes are growing, faculties shrinking. At our daughter's school, my wife is involved in constant fundraising efforts to pay for everything from supplies to staff positions.

By giving so much, are we letting legislators and school district officials off the hook for funding shortages and management lapses?

Tell me what you think. And if you're a teacher or parent, tell me about your out-of-pocket expenses.

I'm sure there are enough stories out there that, together, we could fill a book.

I'll donate the paper.

-- Steve Lopez