Back-to-school is right around the corner, meaning that parents and guardians are beginning to buy backpacks, supplies, and new clothes for the kids. However, as many are coming to find out, this year’s shopping experience is a little more costly than in years past.

Thanks to inflation and supply chain snags, the cost of getting kids prepared for the classroom has grown. According to KVIA: “The [National Retail Federation] said families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items, approximately $15 more than last year.” Of course, this huge expense excludes the cost of school taxes, sports and recreation fees, and other surcharges.

Many families have been forced to make hard choices in response. KVIA continues: “As inflation continues to rise, 38% of consumers said they are cutting back on other spending areas to cover the cost of items for the upcoming school year…”

It’s obvious that family budgets are under stress. Parents need a helping hand, and that’s where school districts have an opportunity.

Right now, most school boards are developing their budgets and considering what tax rate to adopt. In other words, they are well-positioned to lessen the cost of government and cut taxes. Given the economic situation today, school boards should be seriously contemplating adopting the no-new-revenue tax rate, “which would hold tax receipts level for the governmental entity while giving homeowners and businesses a chance to catch their breath.

Boards should also be thinking about how to return excess fund balance monies back to taxpayers. Last session, the outgoing chairman of the House Public Education committee noted that “school districts have fund balances totaling $21.5 billion.” At least some of that money could be returned to taxpayers in the form of lower tax rates.

These are just a few of the many things that Boards can do to help parents get ready for the new school year.