A Labour Government would seek to end "voluntary" school
donations by offering an annual grant of $100 per student to
schools that stop asking parents for money to fund "day to day"
"New Zealand has long prided itself on our public school
system under which core spending is government funded",
Leader David Cunliffe said.
"It's unfair to teachers, boards of trustees, parents and
kids to expect donations to subsidise running their schools."
Mr Cunliffe said some schools had used "dubious tactics" to
tap parents for cash, including repeatedly sending children
home with letters and, in one case giving children 'donation
paid' tags to attach to their bags.
"Labour does not believe children should be discriminated
against and ostracised because of their parents' financial
Schools received $97 million in donations in 2012 with
parents of students at higher decile schools being asked for
However, the donations were particularly hard on low income
communities with decile one to three parents contributing $10
million a year, Mr Cunliffe said.
Under Labour's plan schools would still be able to charge
Figures released to the Herald in May showed parents were
raising more than $357 million a year in donations and
fundraising to support the "free" schooling system.
The mother of two students at Auckland's decile 10 Meadowbank
School told the Herald she paid two lots of the $480 annual
donation requested by the school and then an additional $167
in activity fees.
"If you don't pay your donation or you part-pay, your child
gets an envelope to bring home about once a term to ask for
payment _ ie they are named and shamed."
At the time, Education Minister Hekia Parata said donations
were not compulsory, and boards of trustees decided upon what
parents were asked for. "That's up to each school and their
parents. They need to be talking about those expectations."
- By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald