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Mallard Helps Schools Break The Law

Thursday 16 May 2002

The Education Minister is deliberately allowing schools to break the law and mislead parents, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata said today.

"The Education Minister knows that if he stops schools from breaking the law by hitting parents up for money, then school principals are going to turn to him for the funds.

"I wrote to Trevor Mallard a month ago and asked him to issue a circular to schools outlining the rules about what fees schools can legally collect. I did so because I've received upsetting letters from parents that allege:

· At some schools, staff have named children in assembly whose families cannot afford "voluntary" payments;

· Some children are being placed on `detention' instead of being allowed to take part in school trips or activities because of unpaid fees;

· Parents have felt harassed by schools using debt collectors to gather unpaid "donations" they believed were voluntary.

"Mr Mallard took over three weeks to even acknowledge my letter, and he still hasn't done a single thing. He just doesn't want to know.

"Schools are not at fault. The problem is that bureaucrats in Wellington control two-thirds of school funding. We need to get those pencil-pushers out of the way so communities can make their own decisions instead of being hamstrung by bureaucrats.

"Mr Mallard cannot continue to immorally help schools break the law. He must cease abdicating responsibility and act today," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

Ends


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