The Price of Text Books

Front page of last Sunday's Chicago Tribune.

The biggest shock when our family moved to Crystal Lake in 1958 was that we had to pay for text books at Crystal Lake Community High School and in District 47.

Price charged by unit districts and high schools in McHenry County. Highest, at over $100 per child, are Huntley and Johnsburg. All except McHenry and Richmond-Burton charge between $50 and $100.

I think the price was in the $80 range then.

Goodness knows what it is now for three kids.

Sunday the Chicago Tribune’s front page story was entitled,

In textbook fees,
Illinois is No. 1

Those without children in school might feel relieved because this part of the public school cost is basically a user fee.

In McHenry County, Riley, Cary, Fox River Grove, McHenry and Nippersink (Richmond-Spring Grove) grade schools charge more than $100 per child. The next densest blue shows Crystal Lake, Marengo and Wonder Lake Grade Schools charging between $50 and $100. Click to enlarge.

Reporter Diane Rado points out that Illinois has had a textbook subsidy. It was passed in the late 1970’s as a way to help Catholic school children. The logic was that every private school student saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars.

As soon as the bill was passed, I called District 47 School Superintendent Bob Blazier. He applied for some of the very limited first-year money. Crystal Lake won.

Take a look at the fees in Huntley School District 158:

$228 for high school, $218 for jr. high, $173 for grade school, $167 for half day kindergarten.

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