I have 25 pieces of paper – thoughtfully printed in various colors so they don’t confuse me by all looking the same – spread out on my kitchen island this fine Sunday morning. I am about to write at least 6 separate checks, all made out to the same entity, and attach them to different forms, all requiring the same information and a blood sacrifice – and then have them physically delivered to the required location tomorrow morning.
No, I am not applying for a mortgage. And I was just kidding about the blood sacrifice, although I’m not done yet, so there’s still time. It’s my kid’s high school registration packet, and this is an untapped market for Amazon’s One-Click if I ever saw one. The ridiculousness of the entire process hit me hard this morning. I can’t recall the last time I wrote 6 paper checks in a row (and in fact, I had to get another book of checks to even be able to do it).
My local school district is not unique – many of you out there are doing the same thing today. My kid is a senior, which apparently required an additional 150 pages to the usual packet (OK, it just seems like that many), and definitely added more checks.
I don’t even want to know how much producing this packet cost in terms of paper, copier use, and labor. And then there is the time at my end too – not including my little rant here. When my husband saw the paperwork spread out on the counter, his reaction was “What the hell is all that?” What the hell, indeed. Emergency “card” – which is no longer a card but a sheet of paper, front and back – laptop insurance, senior class package (t-shirt, water bottle, lanyard and whatever), school t-shirt, senior all-night party, dance contract (because dirty dancing, and the kids, they practically have sex on the dance floor these days, instead of in the back seat of a car like sensible people), parking sticker, school photos (not to be confused with “senior photos”). And then there is PTO, athletic boosters, yearbook with several options to improve your yearbook signing experience, a student planner (a spiral-bound book, an alien format to most teens), and several forms to opt out of…something. Plus, ACT practice test application, instructions for getting a transcript, a guide to clubs and organizations, and an information sheet on concussions.
I’ll need that last one when I am done banging my head on my granite counter.
Why isn’t this online? I cannot pay for any of this online (well, with the exception of the yearbook, so there’s that). I can’t even find most of this information online because the school website, which is redesigned every year, is basically unusable. I need to emphasize that my school district is not a minority here. I’ve checked out many other school websites and they are universally awful.
Schools are teaching our kids to be a 21st Century Students and Citizens of the Global Community – complete with laptop, online textbooks, virtual homework submittals, and so on (all which I totally support, don’t get me wrong). Yet, I am reduced to filling out multiple paper forms with the same information and writing multiple checks to the same organization…why? Why can’t I log into my kid’s account and click a bunch of boxes and make one credit card payment?
Something is a little off when shopping online is easier than signing your kid up for a high school parking permit or sending money to support PTO. But I don’t have time to work on a solution today – I have forms to fill out and checks to write.