Government Must Clarify School ‘Fees’ or ‘Donation’

Family First NZ says that the new National government must clarify to parents whether school fees are compulsory or not.

“Labour’s Education minister Chris Carter said that he would personally deal with complaints from parents if schools try to force them to pay voluntary school fees, and that no school had a legal right to insist that parents pay voluntary fees,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The previous government sent mixed messages which confused parents and resulted in some parents paying the fees and others refusing. In the end, the whole school community is penalised by the uncertainty and the subsequent shortfall.”

“Although labeled as ‘voluntary’, most parents think that school fees are compulsory and need to be paid to keep the school functioning effectively – especially higher decile schools.”

“The government needs to clarify this issue before the start of this school year – either education is free or it’s not,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Last year the PPTA said that 36 percent of school funding came from sources outside of Government operations grants and these were generally from local sources such as parents.

“Schools deserve to know where they stand on this issue, and the expectations of parents should be made clear.”

ENDS