School Costs Are Rising, So Take Advantage of Tax-Free Weekend

Julanne Hohbach
Huntington's Backpack Index incorporates technology costs for the first time this year.

Bad news for back-to-school shoppers: An annual survey shows parents can expect to pay more this year to send students back to class.

The 2019 Huntington Backpack Index, compiled by Huntington National Bank and Communities In Schools, shows higher costs for those age groups—something it says is attributable to the increased technology required for schoolwork. The annual back-to-school forecast, which started in 2007, tracks classroom supply and school fee costs. For the first time, this year’s forecast includes expenses for a laptop computer and home internet access.

For the 2019-20 school year, the forecast says parents can expect to pay, per child:

  • $1,017 for elementary school supplies, extracurricular fees and technology (up from $636.96 last school year)
  • $1,277 for middle school (an increase from $941.18)
  • $1,668 for high school (up from $1,354.47)

There is a bit of good news, if you head to the stores soon: Aug. 2-4 is Ohio’s Tax-Free Weekend, a “sales tax holiday” that waives taxes on certain clothing and supply purchases. These include clothing priced at $75 or less per item and school supplies and instructional materials costing $20 or less.

The state legislature made the annual holiday permanent in 2018 via Senate Bill 226. Prior tax-free weekends were one-year-only affairs, held in 2017, 2016 and 2015. The event take place annually the first weekend in August.


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