Time flies in the summer time and public school here in Cozumel begins in one more week. The stores are pushing their annual “Back to School” sales as parents are scouring the sale bins to stretch their money and buy the supplies their children need.
I went through Bodega Aurrera today which is owned by Walmart to calculate what the cost is to a local family to send their children to school. A friend gave me a copy of the required supply list given to their son who is entering 4th grade. This is a list of those items and their costs in pesos. (For your reference, the current exchange rate is approximately 15.5 pesos to $1 US. The reason I’m showing a price range on the notebooks is that while there is a “discounted” brand of notebook available for $6 pesos each – some schools/teachers won’t allow the cheaper brand to be used and families are forced to provide the more expensive notebook.
- $ 269 – Backpack (average price)
- $ 24-120 – 4 notebooks – different colors in large square (not lines)
- $ 15 – 100 sheets white paper
- $ 22 – 1 box 12 crayons
- $ 5 – one letter-size folder with name of child
- $ 23 – Geometry set with angles, compass, ruler
- $ 74 – Dictionary
- $ 13 – Scissors
- $ 10 – 5 pencils
- $ 10 – Pencil Sharpener
- $ 7 – Eraser
- $ 10 – Bottle of glue/Glue Stick
- $ 17 – Dry erase marker
- $ 5 – Roll of toilet paper
$504-600 – Total
If the child is in junior high or high school, you have to add the following items to their list (and include most from the prior list)
- $ 13 – 3 black pens
- $ 13 – 3 blue pens
- $ 13 – 3 red pens
- $ 8 – bi-color pencil
- $200 – Scientific calculator (Casio brand priced)
- $ 41 – Colored pencils
- $ 15 – Bic White Out
- $ 22 – 2 highlighters
- $ 30 – 3 pocket folders
- $ 355 – Additional Cost
- $ 859 – 955 Total including items above
Consider these factors:
- Most families that we’ve been helping average 3 children. Some may have 5 or 6.
- Minimum wage is in the area of $75 pesos per day (about $5 Usd)
If you had only one child in high school – you’re potentially looking at over two week’s wages to buy the school supplies – if you have more than one child, the burden to man of these families is huge. Sometimes, this results in some children not being sent to school above primary (elementary).