Monday, February 13, 2017

Send in those box tops, kids!

I'm a little fascinated by the Box Tops for Education program, run by General Mills. If you have a kid and you live in the United States, you probably know that it's a program by which the public is encouraged to buy products with the Box Tops for Education logo (called Box Tops Clips), and cut them out for collection by the schools. Each Box Top Clip, which despite the name may be found anywhere on the box, is worth a dime. A school can cash in up to $20,000 worth per year.

"Your school can use the money for anything it needs!" says the Web site. "Computers, books, and playground equipment are just some of the ways schools have chosen to use the funds raised through Box Tops for Education."

Here's a whopping collection I got from a wholesale-club size box of dishwasher detergent:

This collection is worth 80 cents. Just $19,999.20 to go for our parish school to max out.

Schools really do encourage this stuff. They have collection drives and get parents to participate, and get kids involved in gathering and entering the Clips.

Since General Mills started the program in 1996, it's grown to include sponsorship by companies such as Pillsbury, SC Johnson, and paper giant Kimberly-Clark. One day in the cellar I was surprised to see a Box Top Clip on a box of Scott rags that I'd had down there for ages.

Uh-oh -- the Clip expired in 2012. Hope the rags are still good.
I think it's a nice thing to do, and it's always good to get people to do things together to support worthy causes. That's why when I see these things (and they haven't expired) I clip them out for the parish school's collection box. Always enjoy making a donation that doesn't cost me money.

On the other hand, as I look at the budget for our regional public school system ($165,000,000 in the current year), and divide it by the number of students in the system (6,900), I see that it costs $23,913 to educate just ONE student in the current year.


So go ahead and collect enough box tops to max out -- if you can get hold of 200,000 Clips for the $20,000, that won't even pay for one child. There are seven public schools in the district altogether, and each school can cash in 200,000 box tops for 20Gs each, so try to get 1,400,000 Clips (each person in the region -- person, not family -- would have to come up with 39 Box Tops; most participating packages have 1). And that would educate 5.85 children.

So it's kind of depressing, especially when I get my school tax bill for the year. We'd better be turning out freaking Einsteins by the score, is all I'm saying.

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