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Parental donations attitude dangerous

Parental donations attitude dangerous

Chris Carter’s blasé comment that parents can blithely make ‘a call’ to pay, or not pay, their parental contributions or donations, is irresponsible and will have dire consequences for schools, says Nationals Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

“When defending criticisms that the New Zealand education system was not free he told the Education Review: ‘We know the spin is that somehow [education] hasn’t become free; actually it is free and parents choose to pay it or choose not to, that’s their call.’

“Skipping about the country telling parents they can happily choose not to contribute, as if there are no consequences, risks the over $200 million parents pay to keep schools running and providing a quality education for children.

“In 2006, parents paid $155,178,994 in parental contributions, while donations to the Minister’s ‘free’ education system totalled $57,927,727.

“If parents take the Minister’s steer and make a 'call’ not to pay, the finances of most schools would collapse.

“Already official figures show that in 2006, 40% of primary schools and 50% of secondary schools were in deficit and more than 72% of schools had been in deficit in at least one of the past three years.

“More importantly as contributions drop off, it makes good-hearted parents who do contribute think twice because of the growing number of freeloaders.

“I have dealt with a number of parents who are genuinely unable to contribute, and it’s the Kiwi way that no child will ever be denied access because of this. But that’s a totally different issue and schools have always dealt privately with these situations.

“The growing problem for many schools is those parents who are able to make a contribution to their children’s school choosing instead to take the Minister’s advice and make ‘a call’ not to.”


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