Labour’s school fees policy

The Herald reports:

’s plan to help struggling parents by tackling school donations is a political ploy but at least it recognises the nonsense that donations are voluntary, says the principal of a decile one school.

Under Labour’s plan announced yesterday, state and integrated schools that agreed not to seek voluntary donations from parents would receive additional funding of $100 a student a year. The plan has an estimated cost of $50 million a year.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said it was expected to end requests for voluntary donations to the parents of about 500,000 school-age children. Most lower decile schools were expected to take up the offer. The Government says Labour is underestimating the cost of the policy and schools will pocket the cash but extract the same amount of money by bolstering so-called “activity fees”.

It’s not a bad policy – provide an incentive to schools to not charge so called voluntary donations. There is a risk that some schools will game the system though, but if it ever got implemented it would be interesting to see how many schools took it up.

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