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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 18
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Parents struggling to find uniforms and school supplies for their kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is suppose to have free public education. Parents running around now buying mandatory items for their youngsters might have a different opinion.

The economics ministry said that supplies and school uniforms might cost from 78,331 to 97,445 for each child. The ministry, the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, does a consumer survey each year at the start of school. The range in dollars is from about $148 to $184.

Although various items may not be used for months, students are supposed to have all the required material at the start of the year. Each school issues a list, and teachers check the items.

One item in some grades is a plastic flute. Ministry surveys found a wide range of prices for the identical flute. In Almacén El Rey in San José, the flute could be purchased for 1,800 colons, but in Tres Ríos in the Pasoca store, the price was 3,475 colons.

That was a difference of 93 percent and the biggest found by the survey team that checked prices in 20 outlets. But there were plenty of other identical items that had price differences from 71 to 93 percent.

The biggest difference was in school clothes. A girl's blouse could be had for 200 colons or for 7,900 colons. The average price was 4,786 colons. Naturally the qualities were different. Much of the school clothing comes from China.

The required articles also vary depending on the child's grade level.

Some parents save money by swapping clothing with neighbors or fitting used clothing. The Ministerio de

schoolk clothes
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio photo
This is a time youngsters learn about smart shopping

Educación Pública has said that the use of used backpacks is permitted this year.

A number of expat organizations provide school supplies for children of low-income families as does the government.

The prices reported by the survey may include some for loss-leader items or in-store sales, and the prices also are affected by the individual store overhead and rent.



Visiting heads of state might find themselves beating dead horses
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community of Latin America and Caribbean States will be beating a few dead horses when heads of state meet, according to some advanced reports from meetings of the technical staff.

Among these are sovereignty for Puerto Rico and a resumption of negotiations over the Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the Islas Malvinas.

The two-day session that begins with heads of state Wednesday also will be considering the state of U.S. and Cuban relations.

Alejandro Solano, a Costa Rican vice minister, said that the technical staff had reached agreement on the majority of the 17 issues being discussed. He did not list them all but did cite Puerto Rico, the British islands off Argentina and U.S. relations with Cuba.

Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth, and the wishes of voters there have been ambiguous. The election in 2012 presented
 voters with a two-part question that many did not answer. Residents have the possibility of independence, statehood or continue commonwealth status.

The United Kingdom fought a 10-week war to retake the Falklands from an Argentine invasion in 1982. The islands have been in British hands since 1841. Residents have voted overwhelmingly to remain a United Kingdom territory. Still Argentina officials continue to push for some form of negotiations involving the islands.

The continuation of the U.S embargo on Cuba is another topic for discussion. The U.S. designation of Cuba as a sponsor of terrorism also is on the agenda.

There was no mention if the human rights situation in Cuba would be brought up.

The foreign ministry said Monday that it has enlisted some 223 government vehicles to ferry the estimated 3,000 persons who will be attending the summit in Belén.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

Del Rey nightlife

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