Voluntary Contributions to schools would be regulated under Bill proposed by Sinn Féin - Nolan
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills Carol Nolan TD has today introduced legislation in the Dáil that seeks to regulate the practice of schools seeking payment of voluntary contributions.
Teachta Nolan said:
“I fully accept that the austerity policies of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have had a huge impact on schools.
“Capitation rates have been slashed by 11% since 2008 and schools are relying on the generosity and goodwill of parents to make up the shortfall in funding to meet basic running costs.
“However, it should not have to be parents and children who pay the price for bad government policy.
“In many cases, parents and children simply do not have the means to make these levels of contributions to schools.
“The Irish League of Credit Unions survey states that 31% of parents get into debt to cover back to school costs.
“This Bill seeks to strike a balance between the right of schools to accept voluntary contributions and the realities for many parents who simply cannot afford them.
“The Bill states that schools must clearly state that any contribution by parents to the operating costs of the school is voluntary and there is no obligation on parents to provide such a contribution.
“It seeks to ensure that schools may only contact a parent in relation to voluntary contributions once per school year and may not further contact a parent in any form to request payment.
“It seeks to ensure that no child will be treated differently in terms of access to school facilities as result of the fact that his or her parents chose not to make a contribution to the school.
“It also seeks to effectively end the seeking of voluntary contributions once capitation levels are restored to adequate levels by the Government.
“The Bill further provides that the receipt and expenditure of voluntary contributions will be published in the annual accounts of the school.
“This Bill makes a genuine attempt to address an issue that is of fundamental concern to parents and I hope that the Minister will consider acting on this issue.”
Note: Please see the Bill in question attached