In Victoria we receive I think about $200-$300/year towards school costs, this can either be kept by the parent or signed straight over to the school to cover expenses, so I couldn't see how people could complain about paying such a small amount when the government gives more than this.
The school start bonus is an extra payment to cover the costs of starting prep and year 7 ontop of the EMA.
I'd perhaps talk to Centrelink or your childs school to see if it is available in other states.
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26-02-2012 12:37 #31
26-02-2012 12:38 #32
26-02-2012 12:40 #33
I also don't mean the compulsory fees, only voluntary. I paid the compulsory part for a neighbour so her dd could start prep. It was $20 per family per year. Then they had the voluntary fees, which to me means optional. If they have the money, and make the choice to pay, then they pay. If they can't afford it, or choose not to pay it, then they don't.
26-02-2012 12:44 #34
26-02-2012 12:56 #35
Anyway the question is how can the force people to pay the voluntary contribution? Fair enough if it's called compulsory, but they label it voluntary, and as a pp mentioned, there is a threat of debt collectors if voluntary fees are not paid.
26-02-2012 13:01 #36
We struggle a bit financially ourselves so it was difficult to find the $200 but I started saving for it 3 months before when I found out how much it would be, as I did for uniforms and school shoes.
26-02-2012 13:11 #37
We just got DS fees for a public school and it was $855 for the year, a little more than I expected but had put some aside. This covers all excursions, swimming lessons etc. What amazed me was that they wrote the accompanying letter in such a way that it took us a while to figure out what was compulsory and what was voluntary. It didn't say what would happen to the child's participation if you didn't pay. I felt like it was trying to trap us to pay the full amount. I have been told that even if you don't pay the child is not allowed to miss out on participating.
26-02-2012 13:20 #38
Have not read all replies but at our school we pay $ 60 per student or $ 150 per family. This is our levy which is payable at any time throughout the year. We pay for all books, uniforms, school paper supplies. We also pay extra for any incursions or excursions. The levy is voluntary. Even if you do not pay nothing will be denied to your child ( library ect) I did not pay my levy until the last term last year and my son did not miss out on anything. I figure with book lists at around $130 ( year 1) and uniforms at $ 50 a set plus all the extra for excursions, swimming and incursions that there will be some families that can't afford this.
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26-02-2012 13:39 #39
I just looked up that public school on the Myschool website, less than 100 students, lower than 50% average attendance rate
I only have had dealings with that school. My brother worked there on a 2 week contract when he was at uni and nearly discontinued working as a teacher, and I took the neighbour's dd to school for a few months. I only hear things from other people about voluntary public school fees.
26-02-2012 14:49 #40
Public schools aren't the enemy. Mostly, they struggle to find the money to maintain resources and equipment for their school. Fees aren't collected to make a profit, but to try and make up for the inevitable shortfall in govt funding.
Schools in low socio-economic areas struggle the most, because the more parents can't pay contributions, the less spare cash they have to stock the library, fix the heaters, clean grafitti, upgrade computer equipment...
it becomes a vicious cycle.
I imagine the logic is: $60 a year voluntary contribution isn't a lot. Even struggling families should be able to find $1.40 per week. If they can't, fair enough, it isn't compulsory. But if they have a spare $200 a year for excursions, then they should have the spare $60 for the school fees first, because that money helps the school survive. There is no point in sending kids to swimming classes if their heaters are leaking gas or there is no money to repair broken windows. I get that logic! It makes perfect sense to me.
HOWEVER, it isn't a fair system. You are correct in saying that a child shouldn't miss out because their parents can't/won't pay the voluntary fees. It isn't fair.
That is why I am 100% behind reducing govt contributions to private schools with high incomes/profits. Govt money should be spent first ensuring that EVERY student in Australia has a reasonable standard of education, in a reasonably maintained school with reasonable facilities before any funding is forked out to private schools with rowing sheds and orchestra classes.
So I blame govt (labor and liberal) who refuse to upset the upper-class minority, so that impoverished schools don't have to penalise poor kids swimming lessons over a $60 fee.
PS the schools that try to threaten students with not graduating over voluntary fees are wrong! I'm sure the dept. of ed wouldn't condone that if it was investigated! If it does, that is shocking!
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