School costs parents more

NZ Herald 10 Sep 2012
Increase in ‘voluntary’ donations outstrips rise in Government funding under National. The amount parents paid in school donations jumped more than $23 million between 2008 and 2010 – a 31 per cent increase over a time in which Government funding for schools increased by 8 per cent. Ministry of Education figures show parents paid a total of $98.4 million in donations to schools in 2010 – up from $75 million in 2008. The figures were obtained by Labour, which said donations increased by only 6 per cent over the six years preceding 2008, when it was in Government. The sharpest increases in donations were in mid-decile schools – the total raised in donations by decile seven schools increased by 56 per cent, and the increase in decile four schools was 46 per cent. The only decile in which less was received was decile one schools, where the amount had dropped by 7 per cent. Labour leader David Shearer said it was likely that was because of parents’ inability to pay. The donations have long been controversial – although they are legally voluntary, schools have taken steps such as calling in debt collectors to follow up on non-paying parents.