School supply and extracurricular costs dramatically outpace inflation

The amount that school employees and parents spend out-of-pocket for school supplies and extracurricular activities has increased much faster than the inflation rate over the past year, according to Huntington Bank’s eighth annual Backpack Index, released Tuesday.

In 2013, parents and school employees can expect to pay:

  • $577 for elementary school students, a 5.3 percent increase compared to 2012
  • $763 for middle school students, also a 5.3 percent increase over last year
  • $1,223 for high school students, a 9.5 percent increase compared to 2012

By comparison, the Consumer Price Index — the most common measurement of inflation — has climbed just 1.4 percent over the past year.

The index measures the cost of backpacks, as well as supplies such as pencils, paper and erasers. It also includes costs associated with sports and music. It does not include the cost of tablet computers, which a growing number of high schools are requiring students’ families to purchase.

Since Huntington launched its Backpack Index in 2007, costs have increased by 22 percent for elementary school students, 43 percent for middle-school students and 23 percent for high-school students.