Labour will provide an annual grant of $100 per student to schools that stop asking parents for “voluntary” donations to help fund their day-to-day spending, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.
“New Zealand has long prided itself on our public school system under which core spending is government funded. It’s unfair to teachers, boards of trustees, parents and kids to expect donations to subsidise running their schools.
“Some schools have adopted dubious tactics to get these so-called voluntary donations 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 situation.
“Schools received $97 million in donations in 2012. The higher the school’s decile, the bigger the donation parents were asked to give. The average donation to a decile one school is $59 but that rises to an average of $278 for decile 10 schools.
“School donations are particularly hard on low income communities with decile one to three parents contributing $10 million a year.
“Under a Labour Government, schools that agree not to solicit donations will be granted $100 per student each year. Schools will still be allowed to charge activity fees.
“Labour is committed to ensuring that New Zealand has a modern, affordable and high quality education system,” David Cunliffe says.