According to the 2011 Huntington Backpack Index, families can expect to spend up to 25 percent more to stock their children’s backpacks with school supplies and pay for extracurricular activities this year. This increase marks the largest annual increase in the index’s six-year history.

The Huntington survey found that between this summer and last, elementary school costs rose from $474 to $530 – a 12 percent increase. Middle school costs increased 25 percent, and high school costs increased nine percent. As schools continue to face shrinking resources and budget cuts, costs once covered by schools are being passed onto families.

Over 1,200 Buy a School Supply Groupon

Most of us are familiar with Groupon – the tipping point deal website that allows us to score dinners, massages, and manicures at great discounts. But last week Groupon in Chicago offered a unique deal. Groupon announced it would be partnering with the Chicago Public School District to provide school supplies to kids in low-income and high truancy neighborhoods. This Groupon deal makes sense – more than 85 percent of Chicago Public School students come from low-income families, and 15,000 Chicago students are homeless.

The Kits for Kidz organization pledged 6,000 kits. But Groupon opened the deal to members by allowing Groupon users to purchase a $12 donation that will supply a student in need with a kit that includes 30 school necessities like glue, erasers, markers, storybooks, notebooks, rulers and pencils. The kits will then be distributed in low-income neighborhoods and back to school events. 1,276 deals were purchased before the deal closed.

According to a study of Chicago high school freshmen, for every five school days a student misses a semester, they are up to 20% less likely to graduate within four years. And Groupon and the Chicago Public School District are working together to make sure that students come prepared on the first day of school, so that they have better attendance throughout the year.

Would you consider buying a Groupon School Supply Kit for San Francisco students?

Like Chicago, San Francisco public school students face economic challenges. In San Francisco, 19 percent of the population is considered at the poverty level. As of 2006, ninety percent of San Francisco public school students were lower and middle-income kids. Additionally, San Francisco has 5,500 chronically truant students. The high cost of living in San Francisco already strains the resources of many families in the city. With school supplies costing 25% more this year, many San Francisco families will have difficulty providing their kids with the school supplies they need.

With school about to start in San Francisco – would you consider buying a kit for a San Francisco student in need? Log-in and join the conversation below.