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Government Forces Schools To Blackmail Parents

The Labour-Alliance Government has forced schools to resort to blackmail, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"The Government's poor spending priorities mean money doesn't get where it needs to go. So schools are hitting up parents for more and more cash. Upper Hutt College wrote to all parents at the end of last year, stating:

"If subject fees are not paid or suitable payment arrangements made prior to Thursday 28 March 2002, your child will be removed from the class concerned. They will then be required to select an alternative option that does not attract fees."

"Trevor Mallard has turned education into a game where you only win if you've got the richest parents.

"Upper Hutt College received $1,136,746 in "operational funding" last year. It earned hundreds of thousands more from international students. Yet the decile seven high school is forcing Upper Hutt parents to pay up to $700 for each child every year.

"First parents have to fork out $80 for a "voluntary" school donation, then $15 for a Year Book (which students are encouraged to purchase), $7 for a school diary, up to $50 for "technology", and $400 for a uniform. Then expensive "subject fees" are loaded on top.

"Government policies have so weakened schools that education is now based on the size of your dad's wallet.

"The way forward is to break the state monopoly and fund the students, not the schools. Until that happens, the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' will continue to expand," Donna Awatere Huata said.

Ends

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