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Mallard Helps Schools Break the Law

Mallard Helps Schools Break the Law

Friday 6 Dec 2002 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata today endorsed Rural Women New Zealand for campaigning against children being punished because their parents have not paid voluntary school donations.

"It is the Education Minister's fault that kids are being denied their leaving certificates and reports. I wrote to Trevor Mallard in April - nine months ago - and warned he must stop allowing schools to break the law by enforcing payment of "voluntary" fees. I called on him to issue a circular to every school outlining and clarifying the rules about what fees schools can legally collect. Those rules are currently confused and murky.

"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 in nine months he hasn't done a single thing.

"It is clear that 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. Then schools won't be forced to push so hard for extra cash.

"Mr Mallard cannot continue allowing children to be punished like this. He must cease abdicating responsibility and act today," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

ENDS.


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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