05/08/2012 12:03 am ET

Public High School: 5 Hidden Costs

This piece comes to us courtesy of U.S. News & World Report.

With two sons already through public high school, mother of four Tamara Krause assumed she knew what to expect as her daughter entered Florida's Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

As her daughter received rigorous preparation for college during the school day and participated in lots of extracurriculars after, her mother planned to be squirreling away money saved by attending a charter school in a future college fund.

But it wasn't too long into her daughter's freshman year of high school that Krause realized she'd been mistaken. "The money we had hoped to save, we're spending on things we did not anticipate to be spending at the high school level," Krause says.

"At this rate, I will spend her college fund paying for her next three years of high school."

(Explore the new rankings of Best High Schools.)

Attending a public high school is likely more expensive now than when today's parents were in school—and maybe even more than when their older children were enrolled. Public high schools, like public colleges, have been victims of recent budget cuts at the state and federal level, and the slashes are likely to continue in the future, according to the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

"In addition to cuts, and in some ways to try to somewhat make up for cuts, districts are either eliminating fees that they used to [subsidize] ... or they're increasing existing fees to higher levels," says Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA. "All of this obviously has an effect on the pocketbook of the family or the students themselves."

Each district may vary in terms of fees and charges, so the hidden costs below are not a guarantee of what you'll pay. Still, these are some of the most common costs parents have to pay—sometimes unexpectedly.

Stay up to date with the U.S. News High School Notes blog.