Back to schoolThe always timely U.S. Census Bureau has the latest figures in for all your back-to-school questions.

How much money was spent at family clothing stores last August? $7.4 billion. How much was spent at bookstores? $2.2 billion.

The lion’s share of this money was presumably spent by the families of the nation’s 77 million students – both children and adults enrolled in one of the nation’s  schools, from preschool to college.

That’s roughly 27 percent of the population.

For the kiddos, the United States was home to 98,706 public schools at last count, and 33,740 private schools.  They employ some 7.2 million teachers – nearly 3 million of which teach elementary or middle-school.

Public school teachers make an average annual salary of $65,800 – in California, which has the highest pay rate. The lowest rate is in South Dakota, where teachers make an average annual salary of $36,700. In Montana, the National Education Association has the average annual salary of a public school teacher in 2008-’09 at $42,874.

So parents: Ask your teacher how you can help out with school supplies this year, and remember to remind your child to bring in that apple.