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Minister coming after school 'donations'

9 November 2004

Minister coming after school 'donations'

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, is warning state schools that charge, that the Minister of Education is coming after them.

In answer to a parliamentary question today, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said he condemns the practice of schools sending out invoices and letters demanding payment of school fees or donations.

Mr Mallard clearly believes fees are schools' fault, and he plans to nail them, says Mr English.

"Almost all secondary schools and most primary schools charge fees of some sort - payment of which is increasingly regarded as compulsory.

"If schools can't charge fees they will be in real financial trouble.

"Parents and schools already raise over half a billion dollars each year to keep schools viable.

"If Mr Mallard cracks down on the compulsory payment of fees, parents will be left to sell even more raffle tickets and hold even more cake stalls.

"Labour's policy on school fees is a mess. While the Minister says he is opposed to state schools charging, he won't do anything about the financial pressure that has left schools in a position where they have no choice," says Mr English.

"In the meantime, Mr Mallard is planning to blame the schools."

ENDS

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