Herald on Labour’s school fees policy

July 4th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Most parents willingly pay the donation. Most school boards of trustees also go to great lengths to ensure that pupils are not discriminated against if their parents do not pay. They are also fully aware of the financial circumstances of the community from which they draw their pupils and, in the case of schools in poorer communities, gain an injection of equity from decile-based funding. A donation that represents just over $1 a week should be affordable to all but the most strapped household. On that basis, Labour’s policy may have rather less appeal than it hopes.

The fact that schools will still be allowed to charge activity fees “for the actual costs of extra-curricular activities such as school camps” adds to that likelihood. The danger is that many will accept the $100 per pupil, but then use other targeted fees to lift the payment from parents. Keeping track of this when it might involve a mountain of costs, such as van rentals for school teams or up-to-date technology, would be extremely difficult. If other fees become commonplace, little will have been gained for parents.

That is the worry – parents end up paying twice. They pay the $100 through their taxes, and still get stung for say $100 through activity fees and the like.

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17 Responses to “Herald on Labour’s school fees policy”

  1. Barnsley Bill (977 comments) says:

    Except the legions if parents who pay no tax

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  2. Chris2 (757 comments) says:

    If people choose to have children then they should pay for them.

    Why should the taxpayer fork out for these donations?

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  3. SW (225 comments) says:

    Parents still get stung for ‘activity fees and the like’ on top of school fees regardless.

    Is the argument that in reality parents are going to actually be paying more in school fees because of a Labour policy meaning voluntary schools can’t be charged to parents if schools opt in?

    If that’s the best argument against this policy then I guess it isn’t a bad policy.

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  4. alloytoo (432 comments) says:

    This and the iPad policy are lolly scramble policies aimed at schools and communities which already receive a disproportionately large proportion of government education spend.

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  5. SW (225 comments) says:

    Chris2 – Children choose their parents.

    In a true meritocracy, shouldn’t each kid have exactly the same opportunities through the education system, regardless of background.

    Anything short of that and your just lip service to the idea of a society built on rewards for merit rather than life circumstances.

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  6. Pete George (22,851 comments) says:

    SW – in theory maybe, but unachievable. Some schools are more equal than others, and some teachers are more equal than others.

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  7. freethinker (681 comments) says:

    DPF overlooks that most school boards consist of parents who would exercise appropriate discretion I feel sure.

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  8. peterwn (3,163 comments) says:

    But there is twice the bang for paying ‘twice’. And indeed, the parents likely to be hit up by their schools are already paying a heap in taxation. And Mr Raj the dairy owner does not want his son to be behind the counter all his life, Mr Raj’s ambition is for Raj junior to go to Med School and will pay school fees along the way accordingly even though his net hourly earnings may be below Revd Charles Waldergrave’s ‘living wage’.

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  9. Mobile Michael (414 comments) says:

    Chris2 – because the cost to you of masses of uneducated people is much more.

    But I agree with you that parents should be actively involved and contributing to their children’s education. Thinking otherwise is a sure sign that the children will fall behind at school.

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  10. SW (225 comments) says:

    Pete George – well I agree.

    Like many ideals, it is something to strive for but probably not achievable. So let’s not pretend that NZ is a meritocracy. Let’s not pretend that NZ is a level playing field and that anyone not successful in our system is lazy, stupid or unmotivated, and that everyone who has done well has got there by their themselves.

    Let’s also not label not supporting radically changing our education system as the bigotry of low expectations’. That would be intellectually dishonest and actually quite a nasty silencing tactic against people who may hold honest and legitimate view points. Or just happy mischief :)

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  11. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    parents end up paying twice

    Yeah right. We pay taxes so our kids school gets the $100, then we pay taxes so some other school where parent’s don’t pay tax can also have $100, then we pay activities fees, then we spend money at fundraising events so our kids school can have the same level of funding as other schools getting decile funding that also comes from my taxes. At this point I would be overjoyed to only pay twice.

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  12. simian (29 comments) says:

    Silly article first schools are Godley and hardly ever even try to collect donations yet apparently if this policy happens they will become money loving and try to grab even more from parents!

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  13. altiora (208 comments) says:

    Labour never seem to appreciate just how annoyed and insulted most people feel when Labour seeks to tailor make policy to reflect, and justify, the behaviour of those small minority of unreasonable and selfish people who think the world owes them a free lunch.

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  14. macdee (29 comments) says:

    At the root of this is the debate over ‘wants’ and ‘needs’, through the ops grant the state provides a level of funding that it believes should allow schools to deliver the curriculum to an acceptable level, additional funds are provided for low decile schools, the debate then becomes what is an acceptable level and is the ops grant sufficient, schools, ‘want’ more, quite rightly they believe they can do better for their students, hence “donations”, if Labour believes schools need more they should revisit the ops grant funding, at the same time they should investigate how well schools are using their funding, rather than a knee jerk election bribe proper analysis should be done

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  15. Fisiani (953 comments) says:

    Labour always try to bribe voters with other peoples money and claim that they are generous. Some suckers always fall it. Always good to check out the small print
    eg 2014 Donation $200 and Activity fee $100 School gets $300
    2015 Donation $0 Halleluiah ah but wait Activity Fee now $250 School gets $350
    Parents save $50 or $1 a week and School gains another $50 Poor old taxpayer stumps up $100

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  16. m@tt (588 comments) says:

    “That is the worry – parents end up paying twice. They pay the $100 through their taxes, and still get stung for say $100 through activity fees and the like”
    That’s not paying twice though is it. Or are you actually suggesting the schools will dishonestly claim costs for activities that are already funded then somehow spend the money on non school related activities?

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  17. Monique Angel (252 comments) says:

    In Aspirational California, the school donation is $700 per child ponied up the first day back. They also nickel and dime you weekly to support your local public school.new Zealand has no idea.

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