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Thread: Schools bully parents for money

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    Default Schools bully parents for money

    Schools bully parents for money
    Page 1 of 2 ... 4:00AM Saturday Feb 07, 2009
    By Jacqueline Smith

    Schools are under fire for forcing parents to pay voluntary fees - and punishing children whose parents don't pay up.

    But an East Auckland principal says free education is a fallacy and parents should feel pressured to contribute.

    The Weekend Herald has obtained documents under the Official Information Act revealing cases brought to the attention of the Education Minister.

    They include complaints of voluntary donations being chased up by school boards using "bullying tactics", optional expenses being deemed "compulsory" and schools breaching the Education Act by singling out students whose parents did not pay.

    One Auckland school employed an agency to call parents at home and urge them to pay.

    More here.
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    I was shocked at how much we have to pay at NZ schools. My 14 year old has just gone back to school and apart from having to buy the expected pens, pencils & school bag we have to buy exercise books and work books and pay a photocopying fee of $10 and a fee for the homework diary at a total cost of approx $112. This is before they send us the 'voluntary' donations request. We got sent one just before Chritsmas when my son had only been at school for 6 weeks. This came to about $80 and included 4 swimming lessons that he had never had. Needless to say it has still not been paid. Where do my taxes go if we have to provide a lot of what was provided for them in the UK?
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    Our son is just about to stat school ....

    Yr 1, stationary is $16 for the year, plus $100 donations. On top of that there is a uniform to buy (but that is a whole other thread, which I may post at the end of the saga).

    Personally, I find the idea of contributing to school fees OK. Lets face it, we chose to have children, and therefore why not have to bear some of the consequences?

    and yes, we do pay our taxes, but also are claiming family tax credits, so hopefully will get some of it back at the end of the financial year.
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    My daughter will be starting school towards the end of this year, a few weeks ago I was all for not paying the 'donation' thinking that if enough people didn't pay it that the government would be forced to fund schools adequately, now that I've discovered my actions could result in my child being publicly 'outed' at school I've changed my mind. I don't mind paying the donation 'cos to be fair it's not going to be that much, but what about the families that are struggling with their finances, do the lower decile schools have lower school fees - opps sorry - donations

    I'd feel a lot better about it if it had an honest label, like 'here's are your school fees, without these we can't afford to pay the teachers', rather than 'please give a donation - it's voluntary but if you don't pay we'll exclude your kid'.
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    Jessica has now started in Year 1 at school. She started August last year.
    We have paid $26 for the staitionary and fees for the class consumables. Our fee/donation at a decile 10 school is $140. We don't however have a uniform which saves an awful lot of money.

    I don't mind paying the fee, especially when you get to see where the money is being used. Towards the end of hte year last year they did a lot of work on the outdoor areas with new decking and plants and an area of banking all done up for the kids to explore the nature. They are also due to start on building 2 new classrooms.

    I know there are families at the school that don't pay and to help that they have introduced an incentive this year in that if you pay before much you can pay $20 less, not sure how effective it will be though. Also I don't see that any children would be outed as gina says for not paying the fees.

    On Nicky's point about UK schools. Yes you don't have to pay in the UK but personally I prefer the schooling here. Parents are more keen to be involved with the schools and you kind of feel more a part of the school because you are contributing to it. It just all feels more friendly and relaxed here. In the UK the funding from government is all to do with grades and ratings and therefore the kids are pushed into exams and passing tests etc rather than being encouraged to be children and enjoy other activites other than maths and english.
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    I find the schooling here as good as the UK - my son really enjoys it, more than he did in the UK. My point is that as a one wage family (not a very big wage either) after buying school uniform for one child (approx. $200) I then have to pay for more in the stationary line than I expected on top of the school fees. On a very tight budget this is very difficult and as I don't want my son to miss out and suffer something else has to give (namely the quality of food we buy). I did budget before we came and allowed for the school fees but was not aware of the 'extra's'. I may sound like a scrooge - I'm not - but I do object to being approached for money from all angles for something that is compulsory and that has been delivered technically free in a previous life. If the schools here had the same equipment as the schools in the UK then I could understand it but they don't - they seem to have less. I will always support the school in any fundraising and will buy what my son needs to succeed at school - I just don't have to agree with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickydwuk View Post
    If the schools here had the same equipment as the schools in the UK then I could understand it but they don't - they seem to have less.
    Not sure about the schools in Oxford, but from my experience of working in quite a few schools in the UK over the past few years, the schools here in Kaiapoi are amazing. James school has more facilities than I would have ever hoped for in a UK school, in fact, a private school I worked at 2 years ago with fees of 26,000 a year does not even touch the equimpent James new school has!

    My only gripe is the compulosry uniform which sucks, but then again, it's no worse than when I was at school as I can remember my parents moaning at the cost of my uniform!
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    Umm, I think it weighs up about the same as well. No fees were charged in the UK but, we were always being asked for donations for this and that, a fiver here, a fiver there, a few quid for that. If they baked we had to supply ingredients, if they did art we had to supply, pencils, apron, etc and letters were sent home for donations of materials, we had to pay if they went on a trip, we had to pay lunch, we had to pay for all sorts of things. The schools there, as we do here, called it a donation. These donation requests always said at the bottom, 'this is a request for a donation and is not compulsary however, please understand that if you do not donate this activity/trip will not go ahead.' So, what's the difference? Here we pay one fee at the beginning of the year and they don't ask you for anything again. Charlie did food tech, woodwork, metalwork, artwork (all of which required specific materials) and loads of sport last year and we weren't asked for anything extra towards any of it. Oh, and they get a school bus pick them up at the gate and deliver them safely to school and back again for nothing. Saves us petrol and dealing with the school traffic at 8.15 am We're about 7kms from school.

    The uniform isn't that much more expensive, it used to cost me at least 150 pounds to kit out with school uniform in the UK including shoes and PE kit etc, it cost me $200 here. That's less if you do the conversion thing. And we don't have to buy any stationery or pens, pencils, rulers anything it all comes in the stationery kit with his books for about $20. It's fine by me, it saves me running round town in 28 degrees with 20,000 other parents trying to buy everything they need for going back to school, using petrol, getting fed up and bad tempered.

    And no, we don't have the money to spare, anything but. Like the others, I'm just so glad that my kids actually enjoy school now that quite frankly, I'd be happy to pay double.
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    School donations: Parents asked to dig even deeper
    4:00AM Saturday Feb 14, 2009
    By Jacqueline Smith

    Some secondary schools are asking parents for more donations this year, despite the economic downturn.

    Principals say they have little choice because the money they get from the Government no longer covers basic costs.

    A Weekend Herald survey of 62 schools in the upper half of the North Island found a wide range of policies towards donations, which are officially voluntary.

    Auckland Grammar School charges parents $860 a student and $1720 a family per year - the highest school donation fee out of any of the schools surveyed.

    Headmaster John Morris said the concept of free education was a misnomer. "Government funding will never be enough to run schools and hence school donations are one way of being able to maintain an excellent standard of education that people expect from Auckland Grammar School."

    The school cannot legally force families to pay the fee but Mr Morris said that as a decile-10 school, and having the lowest Government funding, it encourages parents to pay by giving them options of paying monthly.

    More here.
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    Primary asks for $950 in fees and donations
    4:00AM Saturday Feb 21, 2009
    By Jacqueline Smith

    A state primary school in a wealthy Auckland suburb is asking parents to pay $950 a year in fees and donations.

    Yet other schools across the upper North Island do not ask for donations at all, a Weekend Herald survey of primary and intermediate schools has found.

    The table shows a wide range of figures requested across the 243 schools that replied by deadline.

    Decile-10 school Parnell District Primary did not respond but a break-down of fees was anonymously passed to the Herald.

    The school is this year asking parents for a $460 school donation plus an activities fee.

    A parent of an intermediate-aged student is charged $250 for information technology, $90 for activities, $50 for technology, $50 for swimming, $30 for sports and arts and $20 for photocopying.

    Principal Gary Cain says it is "absolutely critical" for decile-10 schools to receive extra payments and donations from parents.

    Parents have high expectations of the school and many have moved through from local kindergartens that charge about $800.

    More here.
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