Rant: Expensive Field Trips

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Sue1968, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Sue1968

    Sue1968 Well-Known Member

    My boys are in the second grade and I can only think of one field trip since kindergarten that has cost less than $10 per kid (that one was to the local firehouse). I know that gas and bus service are expensive these days but these prices! They just sent out permission slips for the kids to see the local high school production of "Beauty and the Beast" (which I think sounds like fun). The high school is four miles away and they are charging $12.20 per kid. I have no idea if the high school is charging admission but I suppose that might explain the cost. Previous trips this year include the county nature center ($11) and another local theater production ($13). Last year, they went to a petting farm and also paid a high price. There are about 100 second graders in the school. Is anyone else paying these kind of prices for field trips?
  2. Utopia122

    Utopia122 Well-Known Member

    I can tell you from experience that field trips are very expensive. Just the buses alone cost us over $400 each trip. If the trip is out of town, then the price goes up. We have to pay for the bus driver and the gas. If it's a full day, then the driver gets paid by the hour, and the gas has to be paid as well.

    However, as a teacher, when I plan fieldtrips, I always keep in mind how it may affect families. The most expensive field trip we have taken this year has been $7.50 for each student, and we always try to make it cheaper by telling the students that they can bring their lunch or take a sack lunch from the lunchroom. I would not plan a field trip, personally, if it was going to cost over $10, and certainly not plan two or three at that price. My students just couldn't afford that.
  3. Dielle

    Dielle Well-Known Member

    We homeschool, so that's not an issue. But I'm curious what happens if a family can't or won't pay that? Does their child just sit in another class for the day or something? My SIL is president of the PTA and has told me about this program they have where they fill backpacks with food that's easy enough for a fairly young child to feed themselves, and they hand them out to certain children every Friday... it's kids that they suspect might not eat all weekend, otherwise (I have no idea why those kids haven't been taken from their families for neglect). And if they know of younger siblings not yet in school, they put in more. I can't imagine that children under those circumstances would ever get to go on a field trip if they had to pay for them.
  4. TwinxesMom

    TwinxesMom Well-Known Member

    My girls haven't even had a field trip this year... They did have a helicopter and the drug dogs come out to the school for a presentation.
  5. Minette

    Minette Well-Known Member

    Those do seem expensive. I can see how those activities could cost that much, but I'm surprised the school plans them in that case.

    I think we paid about $20 per kid, total, for all 4 field trips they're going on in K this year. (The school just charges up front at the beginning of the year -- they say it's logistically easier for them that way, and it sure is for me too!) I think the trips are:
    1 - pumpkin farm (Oct.)
    2 - local theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit (Dec.)
    3 - university planetarium (sometime in the spring)
    4 - public park/playground near school (May)

    The last one is completely free -- I think they're even walking there, so no buses. And I think #3 is free admission too, so they just need money for the buses. All of them are scheduled for either before or after lunch, so no food costs.

    They also made it very clear that scholarships were available. Plus, the parent payment forms they sent out included a space for an optional contribution to the scholarship fund. Our school is in a very affluent neighborhood, where the families who need scholarships are outnumbered by those who can afford to pay extra.
  6. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    I think I spent something like $14.53 per kid for the field trip coming up in May. Ours used to be much cheaper, but with budget cuts, we now have to pay to cover the bus, before the budget cuts it was usually around $5 a kid.

    If a child can't afford the trip, all the parent has to do is notify the teacher, and the PTA will fund that child. As for the backpacks, they are for children whose families are usually working poor, and don't have money for food. It isn't as though the kids are neglected, but they simply don't have the money for food.
    1 person likes this.
  7. rissakaye

    rissakaye Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    That sounds quite expensive.

    We're only allowed 1 paying field trip a year. In kinder, it was the zoo. We paid admission of about $5 per kid and brought sack lunches. The PTO paid for the buses. Similar thing in 1st grade to the ice skating rink.

    When the kids go to see a play at the high school, the school board provides the buses for free because it's inside city limits and admission is free to the daytime performances.

    And the kids have also walked over to a park with older "book buddies" before.

    Our PTO covers all buses for field trips outside of city limits. They do a walk-a-thon every year for their only fund raiser.

  8. Katheros

    Katheros Well-Known Member

    For field trips in the local area, I've only paid around $5 per kid. The ones to the pumpkin patch & strawberry farm, etc.

    Last year they went on a trip to the Baltimore Zoo and it was, I think, $12 per kid. Honestly, I thought that was really cheap. I know the cost of the buses and gas for the two hour trip (one way) would be high, plus the cost of admission into the zoo ($11.50 normally). This year they went to the Baltimore Aquarium which was also $12 or $15 per kid, and again I thought it was pretty cheap. It's also about 2 hours away from us and the normal admission for kids is $20. I know they get cheaper group/school rates, but it's still a significant savings from me taking them!
    1 person likes this.
  9. Utopia122

    Utopia122 Well-Known Member

    If a child can't pay, we actually pay for it through our team money. We raise money for our team through selling water to students or other fundraising events. This is how we pay for students that can't afford to go. No student ever is left behind because of financial issues. We also use the funds to pay for busing expenses so that students don't have to pay so much.
  10. tinalb

    tinalb Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Our school usually uses parent drivers for local fieldtrips, which helps to keep costs down so that when we do need buses for bigger trips, the funds are available & the parents don't have to subsidize the cost. We do sometimes have to pay admission costs but rarely more than $5. For our local high school plays, they usually invite the elementary schools to their dress rehearsal days so that they get an audience & the kids get to see the play for free.
  11. Danibell

    Danibell Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My 4th grader's class went to another city on an educational field trip. It cost us...(hold onto your hats....) $60!!!! No joke. Well, actually, it was a joke, because he ended up with a stomach virus and couldn't go. And they didn't refund the money. But he was so excited to go that we ended up taking a family trip so he could still see what the other kids saw, and we spent the night. That was one hell of an expensive field trip. *sigh*

    Fortunately most of them aren't that much, but $10 isn't out of the question at all :(
  12. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    OUr first graders have their first field trip this year. It is $2 per kid and the rest of the cost is being paid from the "target fund." (Whatever that means) It is a bus trip to the high school and watching the Llama, Llama, Red Pajama play. Yes, I agree with the PP's... events like these cost money.
  13. jjzollman

    jjzollman Well-Known Member

    Our PTO pays for kids who cannot afford the trip - or the teaches themselves pay for the child.

    Our school has the Backsacks program and like PP said, it is not about families who are neglecting their children, it is about families who are barely hanging on by a thread and the Backsacks food provides the child with over 50% of their daily required calories in a ready to eat, no electricity, no cooking required, way.
    2 people like this.
  14. Fran27

    Fran27 Well-Known Member

    It's the buses and I guess it depends on where you are going... We've been to one, a farm for Halloween, and it was $15 per kid! Without a bus... they said with a bus it would have added $15 per kid!
  15. MLH

    MLH Well-Known Member

    We must be incredibly lucky. We've never had to pay for a fieldtrip. Our PTO pays for the fieldtrips. Our PTO is very active and we have a big annual Hike-a-thon that rakes in $8,000-$10,000/yr. That pays for assemblies, some teacher supplies and 1-2 fieldtrips per class. I would be in sticker shock and would expect that for $12, you'd be going to a museum, capital or zoo, etc. DD1 had gone to the capital and will be going to the zoo in April, no charge for either of those. My kindergartners usually just take a bus trip to the highschool to see a performance.
  16. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My kids go to a city subsidized preschool and most of the trips are bus trips. The trips seem to range from 6.00 to 15.00 per person, depending where they are going and if lunch is included. Going on the trips is optional and parents do have the option to drive if they wish not to take the bus.
  17. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    We pay $20 at the start of the year for all in- school activities (field trips, visiting groups, etc). If we could not pay, they do offer scholarships- not child is excluded due to inability to pay (covered by PTA or donation/local business sponsors). Our PTA is very active and does a huge fundraiser at the beginning of the year to help cover it all. That is our only fundraiser and it does very well.

    Also, our field trips are only local ( in the city) for lower grades so they are 1/2 day so no lunch needed.

    We live in a diverse area that is fairly affluent, though it has pockets of lower SES. The entire district charges the same amount at each school so it evens out.
  18. BellaRissa

    BellaRissa Well-Known Member

    There has never been a charge for any field trip for my girls. I work in the same school district & the fieldtrips are paid for by the district. My school is a Title 1, low income school.....nearly 90% of the kids are poor....but the field trips are plentiful & nice. We have gone to the fire station, thelocal groacery store, the rodeo & the kids are taking a train ride in February. I suppose the district has a budget for field trips.
  19. moski

    moski Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Our Parent Council does raise money to help defray some of the cost of field trips, but the cost of the bus is pretty high. Andlast year they went to the New England Aquarium in Boston, I think I paid 16/kid for that one (which compared to the regular cost is not bad). We haven't done any field trips this year.
  20. Heathermomof5

    Heathermomof5 Well-Known Member

    I have never paid that much for a local field trip. I have noticed that my kids have gone on several walking field trips - they walk a pretty long way sometimes I guess the cost of a bus is why! Dawson went to space camp and we had to pay $300 but that was a weekend trip and well worth it.
  21. 4jsinPA

    4jsinPA Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have never paid for a field trip for any if my kids. They have done about 2-3/year. Josie last year did a day trip to Philadelphia and I gave her spending money but that's all. In first grade they go to hershey zoo America and it doesn't cost us a dime either. Our pto does huge fundraisers to pay for it all. I couldn't imagine some of those huge costs!
  22. Ange2k25

    Ange2k25 Well-Known Member

    Bus costs have doubled in the last several years in my district, and we no longer get any bus money as part of our classroom budget. My first year, I got $250 towards a field trip and $250 for basic supplies. Now, we only get $100 for basic supplies. We took our third graders to a local animal park last year. The bus was over $450 for the day, leaving the school at 9:30 and returning at 2:45. The total cost per child was over $15, but the PTA fundraiser money helped drop that $10 to a charge of $5 per child. If one of the children couldn't pay, PTA would pick up the cost. I did have a parent give an extra $10 though to cover the two kids who hadn't paid.
  23. Sue1968

    Sue1968 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, everyone, for the wide range of responses. It seems that most schools subsidize the cost of buses using PTA/PTO or school funds. I guess ours does not. It is mostly, but not entirely an affluent area. As a one-income family, we do alright but we have to pay attention to our expenses. I can afford the field trips so I am thankful for that but everything is doubled with twins (duh!). I don't know what families do if they can't afford the fee, hopefully the PTA or school helps them out. Last year, there was a zoo trip that was rained out and couldn't be rescheduled and I was very happy to receive the $36 refund for that ($18 per kid!).
  24. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    Mine have had one field trip this year (so far) and it cost $5. It was a trip to the high school to see a play. I thought that was completely reasonable.
  25. mommyto3girls

    mommyto3girls Well-Known Member

    We normally only pay around $5.00 for a field trip. My girls go to a school that must have the largest auditorium. Most of the field trips are productions that are performed at our school. All of the other schools come here to see them. I don't think anyone pays for those.

    Last year, Brianne's class when to a local bowling alley for 2 games and lunch. Their penpals from another school also went. That was $5. She has the same teacher this year so I'm sure they will do that again.

    This year the entire 3rd went to the same bowling alley around Christmas. It cost $6. They did this in place of a gift exchange.

    My oldest is in middle school this year. Every year they do a trip at the end of the year for all of the students who don't get more than 5 "reminders". It is to Ceder Point. It's about a 4 hour trip one way. It is an incentive for them to remember homework etc. and to behave. Usually it is paid for by the school. This year they are charging $70. (The school secretary embezzeled a bunch of money last summer.) I know $70 is cheap for this kind of trip but it is tough to come up with that kind of money. Luckily it is not the twins.

    Cailtyn will also have another trip this year, maybe to the zoo. We haven't heard how much that will be.
  26. hudsonfour

    hudsonfour Well-Known Member

    In my county we are only allowed to do 2 field trips per year. The types of field trips varies greatly from school to school. The school I teach at is Title 1, so we try to be sure no trips cost over $10 (this includes cost of bus). At another school in the area the 4th grade students go on a trip to St. Augustine with a price of $30 per kid. We do not have any money set aside from the school budget for field trips.
  27. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    I didn't think that $10-$15 was much for a field trip. To be honest, I thought field trip prices like those are quite cheap. It takes bus rental, gas, a tour guide (or person who shows you around, and sometimes the kids are given stuff (apples or pumpkins, if you visit a farm in the fall). We only do 1-2 field trips a year, so that's only $20 (give or take) a child a YEAR. That's like 1/4-1/3 of a tank of gas for me.
  28. Chrissy Nelson

    Chrissy Nelson Well-Known Member

    The girls get 1 field trip a year at their school. The PTSG works very hard at funraising and makes sure every student gets $5 towards a field trip to cut down the cost. I think this year the girls was a total $3 on top of that. I have paid around $10 per girl though.

    Our high school did Beauty and the Beast and we paid $20 per adult $10 per child to see it. Our high school puts on some amazing productions.
  29. Kathlene

    Kathlene Well-Known Member

    Here in Sc this year my dd's 5th grade class had a trip to Washington DC for 2-3 days. The down p-ment alone was 100.00. Needless to say she didn't get to go. Was not particularly comfortable with her going that far away that long anyways. This is a poor district. I don't know how many others weren't able to afford to go either. I thought it was crazy expensive though.
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