I was on the school board for 2 years, it's a new school and they have a LOT of money in the bank and whilst I was in the board, they would scratch their heads as to what to do with the "voluntary" contributions.
I paid this year due to my daughter nagging me - $250 for one child. But next year I might not as in our case the school doesn't need the money.
For whilst ever I am in a position to pay the fees I am happy to, for heavens knows the day could come when I can't. If it helps keep the school nice and running well and make sure that all my sons friends can have fun like he is then that's the main thing. Our complete public fee was $855 for the year which is a little steep but if you take out the voluntary contributions then it's only about $350.
Public education should be free. All children are to be in some form of schooling, it's required, but some parents simply lack the funds to pay for it. Given that a lot of public schools have a strict dress code, have long, expensive book lists and have numerous outings scheduled for children, it's understandable that some people simply cannot afford fees on top.
I think if anyone paying for public school "fees" believes that it's them paying for their child to be educated, I think they're delusional. I imagine that it costs a lot more to educate a child than the $100 you hand over in fees each year... so fees just HELP, not actually PAY FOR your child's education.
So far I have no paid fees yet this year... but I will. I do not have to, but the way I see it, is if I can, it's better I do so that the school can perhaps afford other things that they might otherwise not. These things may benefit my child directly, they may not... but that doesn't really bother me much. I think that if I can afford an extra $100 a year, then it is really a good idea to pay it. I also believe though, that if this is money you simply do not have, then you are well within your rights to not pay it and still expect that your child be allowed to go on trips, outings, etc. These things should not held at ransom until you pay fees.
If people want to hand over large sums of cash for their child's education, then there is the option of private education... but for those who cannot afford it, they should be able to send their child to school free of charge. Absolutely.
I'm really saddened by some of the responses here. Every child in Australia should have access to an education: uniforms, books, excursions and all. Education is compulsory in our country, and as such the government is required to provide it, free of charge. Those who can afford and wish to pay extra, do so. Those who cannot or do not wish to, do not.
It would pay to consider the real implications of changing that system before getting petty about whether someone pays more or less than you do. And hey, for all you know they may pay more tax than you. Tax that pays for your child's education as well as theirs. In which case perhaps their child should have priority for that extra excursion .
Then I was stating that I personally believe that the number of parents who choose not to pay the levy do exceed the number of parents who genuinely can not.
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