Unless you have a five-year old about to start school, the yearly shop for school stationery usually happen post-Christmas, after we've all spent our money on presents. (Unfortunately for our household, it also coincides with TWO birthdays*) I was a bit shocked to find that this year Sam's list cost me almost $100. Part of this list cost included "shared" items for the class, such as whiteboard markers and Jovi's (crayons, for the uninitiated), but fortunately, unlike the Year 9's of Orewa College next year, I won't have to buy an iPad.
Or if you bother to read the rest of the article (unlike the radio networks who can only read the first line of news items), it also states a laptop, net book or tablet PC will do. It appears the main issue parents have, is with the affordability of the technology. I'm not going to argue that a computer is non-essential equipment for school. It should be obvious enough that we're living in an electronic age, and children are being exposed to digital devices at an earlier age than ever (I say this as I wipe the toddlers fingerprints off my computer screen, and while the 6 year old is off playing Peggle on the xbox).
The first year of high school is hideously expensive as it is, when the cost of a new uniform alone can be upwards of $300 not to mention fees (or if you like your compulsory "donation") which, usually run in the hundreds. And this is if you go to a "free" state school. This is not helped by Orewa College's status as a decile 8 school. A high rating means that they are entitled to less funding. It's an unfortunate catch-22.
It appears that the main problem, though, was a lack of communication between school and home. With consultation, the school could have lessened the resulting parental outrage, and perhaps they would have then offered their support and input to find a way to fill the funding gap.
*One of them being mine