Fears for schools if fees ruled out

Stuff co.nz 5 May 2014
A ruling ordering a school to stop illegally charging parents for extras has prompted education leaders to warn the education system will fail if schools are reprimanded for collecting donations and fees.

A secondary school has been ordered to stop illegally charging parents for school books, photocopying and food ingredients after the Ombudsman released a report yesterday saying the school had breached the right to a free education.

Ombudsman Ron Paterson’s report instructed the school, which he would not name, to address all its voluntary donations and review all fees charged.

The decile 8 state school received between $260,000 and $310,000 a year from non- Government funding to supplement its income and the school principal said it was difficult to break even.

Wellington College principal Roger Moses said it would be a struggle to find any school that was “frivolous” with its money and any funding received was only used to “further enhance the education of its students”.

He said the quality of education would be the first thing to drop if donations, fundraising and fees were removed from a school’s income. “If you got rid of all of that you would quickly find there was a huge shortfall, which either the Government would have to step in and fill – or more likely, the quality of education would drop.”