The Education Minister should step in and stop the use of debt collection or other threats to families who cannot pay "donations" to schools, the Green Party said today.
Documents released under the Official Information Act reportedly show that parents have been chased by debt collectors for not paying "voluntary" school donations.
This follows several cases of students missing out on activities because their parents had not made voluntary payments.
"The Education Minister needs to ensure schools are complying with the law, and categorically set out that they cannot require parents to pay donations," said Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
"Every child in New Zealand has the same fundamental right to access everything their school has on offer, no matter how wealthy or capable of paying their parents are.
"The Minister must tell us how she will ensure that right is upheld.
"While lower decile schools often ask little or nothing in donations, less well-off students at higher decile schools can get singled out and stigmatised by schools that put pressure on their parents to pay. That's unacceptable in a country that values fairness like we do.
"The Green Party policy is for the Education Review Office to report on schools' donations collecting practice to ensure the law is being followed and students are not missing out.
"Ultimately public schools should be properly funded for all educational activities.
"The Government is eroding public education by propping up private schools and throwing money at the flawed charter schools model," said Ms Delahunty.
"Well-resourced schools are better for our kids' education and mean parents are not under pressure to pay unlawful donations."
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