Revelations that schools are using underhand tactics to coerce donations from cash-strapped parents further highlights the need for Labour's plan to increase funding so they aren't dependent on contributions from parents, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“By law New Zealand children are guaranteed a free school education, but government funding simply hasn't kept up with the cost of delivering that.
“Labour's plan to give an extra $100 per student per year to schools that don't ask for donations will go a long way to addressing that issue.
“Over the past year we've seen schools resort to all sorts of tactics to get money out of parents; from shaming those who don't pay through the use of kids’ bag tags, through to banishing kids whose parents don't pay to the school hall.
“Now we have revelations that schools are asking parents to sign a declaration agreeing to pay the donations as a condition of enrolment. That's just not on.
“I can understand why schools are doing this, they're desperate for the money.
“Education Minister Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when she insists that schools get enough funding to deliver the curriculum. They simply don't.
“Even Bill English acknowledged the huge pressure parents were under to make donations, yet under his watch the problem is getting much worse.
“Free public education has always been a priority for Labour and our commitment to tackling parental donations is another clear demonstration of that,” Chris Hipkins says.