$1,000 is the smallest part of the cost of Grammar

January 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The HoS report:

A top Auckland secondary school is asking parents to shell out more than $1,000 when their sons return to class in two weeks’ time.

is the first state school to crack the four-figure mark for school donations, making it the country’s most expensive.

Parents are expected to pay $1,050 for their boys to attend the decile-10 school.

The $1,000 a year “donation” is a trivial cost for those attending Grammar. Zoning laws mean that you have to pay around $500,000 more to buy a property in the Grammar zone.

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29 Responses to “$1,000 is the smallest part of the cost of Grammar”

  1. Alan (922 comments) says:

    It really isn’t.

    Not everyone that has kids going to this school owns in zone, plenty of people rent.

    The 500k premium you describe doesn’t exist like you describe it. It’s much more nuanced

    The assumption that everyone in Epsom is a plutocrat is flawed.

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  2. duggledog (1,119 comments) says:

    $1,000 is not an issue for the vast majority of parents whose boys go to Grammar. They are mostly Asian and mostly very wealthy.

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  3. Viking2 (10,744 comments) says:

    The $1,000 a year “donation” is a trivial cost for those attending Grammar. Zoning laws mean that you have to pay around $500,000 more to buy a property in the Grammar zone.

    ===================
    We need more schools of Grammar’s quality spread around Auckland. That will reduce the house prices no sweat.

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  4. Mark (1,302 comments) says:

    There will be many families living in the Grammar zone who can afford this without thinking too much about it but for those who are struggling financially hopefully the school accomodates those families

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  5. stephieboy (1,162 comments) says:

    I say this as an ex old boy but there is plenty of completion out there as far as choice of schools. We’re in the Mt Albert Grammar School and more than satisfied with the school that my son attending.
    It has an academic, arts and sporting record second to none.
    All for a $300.00 donation.
    Likes AGS ,MAGS attracts plenty of out of zone enrollments.!

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  6. Psycho Milt (1,988 comments) says:

    Zoning laws mean that you have to pay around $500,000 more to buy a property in the Grammar zone.

    Yes, but it’s a stupid tax that only applies to the stupid and rich, so who could possibly object?

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  7. doggone7 (493 comments) says:

    For those living outside Auckland: I believe that some kids who do not go to Auckland Grammar actually do well at their schools and do well in life. Just in case the impression is gained that that school, (which is a good one), is the only bees knees school in the area, God’s gift to schooling, etc., etc. Portrayals that are often made.
    ess

    [duggledog: "...the vast majority of parents whose boys go to Grammar. They are mostly Asian and mostly very wealthy."
    Less than 25% (isn) of the school is Asian.]

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  8. MH (558 comments) says:

    under the webb site Which school in Auckland MAGS is ranked 29 out of 83 using NCEA results.

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  9. MH (558 comments) says:

    Forgot to add AGS 39,but the concentration is on Cambridge exams ?

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  10. Komata (975 comments) says:

    Concerning the statement:

    ‘Parents are expected to pay $1,050 for their boys to attend the decile-10 school’.

    This is, note, stated to be a ‘DONATION’.

    According to the dictionary, a ‘Donation’ is something that is gratuitously given, ‘a gift’.

    Yet according to the article, parents ‘…Are expected to pay’.

    As such, this is not a ‘Donation’ , rather it is a ‘FEE’ and should be stated as such (or would that destroy the myth of ‘free’ education in this country?)

    Which leads me to the question: What would happen if a parent decided to politely decline the ‘invitation’ to provide a ‘Donation’?

    Methinks the legal ramifications for the school, should they try to enforce this ‘voluntary giving’ would be interesting…

    Any opinions from our visiting lawyers?

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  11. BeaB (1,959 comments) says:

    Komata
    What would happen if a parent, perfectly able to pay, refused to? What a pillock he would look in the eyes of other parents.
    Sad that you want a free ride on the coattails of other parents. I guess that’s a ceratin type modern Kiwi – find a way out of paying your share.
    Decile funding is based on the premise that high decile schools receive more financial support from parents.
    If you don’t like it find a cheaper school. And forget the tired excuse of the tightarse – it’s not the money but the principle.

    And really, trotting out the old chestnut that education is free. Use your brains.
    You don’t need a lawyer. Just don’t embarrass yourself and your son. And if you have the gall to slither out of paying on some asinine technicality, don’t expect to use the resources other parents have stumped up for.

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  12. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    Of all the policies that Government can do that reinforce the class system, it is school zoning – rich parents can send their children to elite schools, while poor parents have to send their children to second rate schools.
    .
    That school zoning in NZ was introduced by the Labour Party (a party that was once about smashing the class system, not creating it) is sickening.

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  13. doggone7 (493 comments) says:

    greenjacket

    If the roll of Auckland Grammar is about 2500, how would they choose the boys to attend the school if zoning were not in place?
    (Accepting that considerably more than that would apply to get in.)

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  14. tvb (3,947 comments) says:

    The $500,000 is capitalised into the cost of the house and will be repaid on quitting grammar zone. However there are financing costs for the extra 500,000 so that could be considered a cost.

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  15. trout (865 comments) says:

    If the feminist dominated Education Dept. had its way Auckland Grammar would cease to exist (AGS represents ‘elitism’). The school has already been forced to accommodate many more pupils that the site it is designed for. The answer of course is to develop another allied single sex campus off site (South Auckland even) and run it on the same principles. But no way would this be allowed because of gender politics.

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  16. Komata (975 comments) says:

    Beab

    A fascinating, and very revealing reply – thank you, although as it was, for me an academic exercise, working in the realms of hypothesis, I fail to see the necessity of what appears to be a ‘personal attack’ in response to a not-unreasonable question. By your response in choosing to play the man, not the ball, I evidently hit a nerve…..

    As I said, quite revealing. Thanks.

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  17. Bingo99 (42 comments) says:

    @doggone7…uh, select students on merit, be it academic, sporting or something else. I attended Grammar when zoning didn’t apply during the 90s and an offer was made based on merit and family history with the school, the latter being as ridiculous as selecting students based on their address. And FWIW, Grammar talks a good game but it is spectacularly overrated. The smart and sporty usually do pretty well but there is a very very long tale.

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  18. gump (1,232 comments) says:

    @Bingo99

    “And FWIW, Grammar talks a good game but it is spectacularly overrated. The smart and sporty usually do pretty well but there is a very very long tale.”

    ————————

    When I was involved in coaching schoolboy sport, I was gobsmacked at how many dumbarse students attended AGS. The bell-curve applies there in the same way it applies everywhere else.

    Or in somewhat blunter terms, having wealthy parents is no guarantee of obtaining a genetic advantage. A schoolboy in class 3P might as well have been in 3-Potato.

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  19. doggone7 (493 comments) says:

    Bingo99

    Thanks. Usually those who rubbish zoning (and sometimes carry on as if it’s the worst notion ever come up with), can’t say what would happen if it was not in place, and what they would do. Merit based selection sounds fine until the ‘ordinary’ kid living next to the school can’t get in as the places are given to very bright academics and those who will shine in the first XV, and various first X1s.

    Obviously the ‘B’ high school takes the next best and so on down the pecking order with the low achievers all ending up at Riff Raff High.
    Of course in the view of some there is nothing wrong with that.

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  20. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    The $1,000 a year “donation” is a trivial cost

    So trivial that the school presumably wouldn’t be upset if parents chose not to pay it.

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  21. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Headmaster Tim O’Connor says…the Government funds only half of the school’s annual operating budget and the rest has to come from parents and fundraising.

    “We’re behind the eight ball to start with and we have to make it up from somewhere.”

    Poor Mr O’Connor. He needs to cut his coat according to his cloth…I’m sure the Right agrees.

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  22. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Of course some parents have been hassled by schools for not paying donations. Rathkeale College in Masterton was in the news a few years back for bullying a mother. I doubt the bad publicity did them any favours.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/2590302/School-tells-mum-Use-your-home-to-pay

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  23. RightNow (6,350 comments) says:

    Sure rosie, let’s all all stop paying voluntary donations to schools. Who would suffer?

    I don’t think Rathkeale minded too much having it publicised that they chase parents for payment either, helps filter out the liabilities.

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  24. Bingo99 (42 comments) says:

    Zoning is terrible. It distorts the education market based on arbitrary geographical distinctions. Those who support it usually rely on an all or nothing argument. There is, or was, a balance between local kids, meritorious placements and opportunities for talented kids from poorer areas. Each school comes up with its own mix. All zoning has done at Grammar is make it less diverse, by excluding the opportunity for Maori and PI kids to get in, and ensured a higher wealth of the student body, excluding poorer kids.

    Zoning is stupid. Just because the alternative is a bit messy doesn’t mean it should be discarded. But the left has a fundamental ignorance of market distortions, perverse outcomes and market incentives. You can see it in just about every proposed policy that they just don’t get it.

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  25. doggone7 (493 comments) says:

    So there are plusses and minuses in both approaches. What some see as positives others will see as negatives and so on.

    An open slather system would likely see the balance between “local kids, meritorious placements and opportunities for talented kids from poorer areas” determined by the school taking the best and brightest so they could assert their superiority. Human nature. The “talented kids from poorer areas” are the ones targeted with sports scholarships already. Children being chosen by arbitrary distinctions.

    One might say that not zoning is stupid. Just because the alternative is a bit messy doesn’t mean it should be discarded.

    And it might be valid to say zoning distorts the education market. Education market? What happened to just ‘going to school?;

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  26. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    The school that told a young Ed Hillary he was a useless little runt who’d never amount to anything much.

    Worthy of all the hype??

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  27. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    RRM

    The school that inspired a young Ed Hillary to achieve something astounding …. It’s all about perspective right – wasn’t Einstein also a problem student ?

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  28. burt (7,096 comments) says:

    doggone7

    What happened to just going to school – some politicians wanted to make it easier to control the distribution of kids in schools to make it easy to administer them – the rest is unintended consequences of well meaning (but flawed) social engineering.

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  29. Bingo99 (42 comments) says:

    Oh doggone, as much as it pains you society inherently creates markets in every realm of life. Yes, it’s an education market – you haver a choice – private v public, this school or that – you are choosing which product you wish to “buy” for your child’s education. This isn’t some capitalist threat to undermine a hazy notion of education being removed from “all that”. whenever you have choice, you have a market. Zoning simply distorts the market by limiting your choice.

    Meaning if you have particularly awful local schools, then tough, your only option is to go private, because god forbid we punish the local school. Selwyn College is a prime example. Burgeoning local population of school age kids – declining rolls. Eventually there was an intervention from Wellington but after too many years and too much local frustration.

    A school like Grammar has demonstrated it will offer places to the best and brightest with zoning restrictions removed. Offering is their end of the deal, the family doesn’t have to accept. The travel might be too far, the culture fit not right, the local schools might be perfectly fine – lots of reasons a student may decline. But if they accept, en mass, then local schools need to up their game, because they’re not delivering. And Grammar has limited places – about 5-600 per year of new intake, so there is a very low limit to how much that process “hollows out” local schools.

    Sounds terrifying? The thought that parents are given a genuine choice about where to send their kids? What about this choice scares you? that it might undermine local schools? Hmmm perhaps a kid’s education is more important than propping up a local school that fails to deliver to its community. just, maybe. I still await to hear the many benefits of zoning… less travel time? Aaaaand…?

    As someone else suggested, why not let Grammar management develop further schools around Auckland if that’s what parents are demanding? I’d argue a lot of AGS is all hype, but if that’s what people want, and they’re not getting it from their local schools now (yo Selwyn!) then why not expand the AGS remit? Then we could keep the precious zones and ensure minimal diversity at our schools based on some weirdly distorted utopian view of the left, that somehow, zoning equals fairness and equality.

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