Parents balk at donations cost

The Press 11 April 2009

Many parents are refusing to pay up as schools increase costs to meet budgets. A new survey covering two-thirds of New Zealand’s secondary schools and many primary schools concludes that schools will need to find new ways to stretch resources. The report, released this week, came days after Education Minister Anne Tolley told principals she expected “discipline” on spending. The New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) report, School resources, culture and connections, said funding was identified by parents, teachers, principals and school boards as the single biggest issue.

The survey received responses from almost two-thirds of the nation’s state and integrated secondary schools, and from 56 per cent of contacted primary principals. Among the survey’s other findings:
* One-quarter of secondary schools (24 per cent) had increased the parent donation requested over the past two years.
* High-decile secondary schools were more likely to have requested a donation increase (38 per cent, compared with 8 per cent of low-decile schools).
* Nearly one in 10 secondary principals reported that more than 70 per cent of parents had not paid the donation. Six out of 10 reported donation payment rates of between 30 per cent and 80 per cent.