Brooklyn’s Juliette Posner remembers the exact moment she realized just how broke public schools really are, Reuters reports. Her daughter Merone graduated last spring from Manhattan’s LaGuardia High School, a performing-arts mecca and inspiration for both the film “Fame” and the TV series. But one day she came home with some surprising news.

“The teacher ran out of paper,” Posner, 35, says. “They didn’t have any money for paper. I was like, ‘Really?'”

Such is the reality of U.S. public schools, which have struggled in recent years as cash-strapped states contend with gutted tax revenues. And when schools see their budgets disappear, administrators increasingly rely on another revenue source to make up the difference: Parents.

“There’s no question costs are shifting to parents,” says Helaine Olen, a mother of two, personal finance writer and author of the upcoming book “Pound Foolish.” She says that “schools are putting pressure on people to pay up during a time of severe economic hardship. Every year the ante goes up, and parents are asked to do even more.”

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staff and wire services reports