Schools hire debt collectors for 'voluntary' donations
The use of third parties to collect so-called ‘voluntary’ donations shows underfunding of education is forcing schools to rely on handouts from parents, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“This week the Ministry wrote to all schools warning them against using third party agencies such as debt collectors.
“This follows the Office of the Auditor-General telling the Ministry the use of such third party agencies to collect ‘voluntary’ donations is a breach of the Crown Entities Act. The Act states: ‘No income for the school can be paid directly to a service producer trust account, proprietor or any other third party’.
“Education is supposed to be free but given funding by the National Government hasn’t kept up with increasing costs, schools have no choice but to rely on these handouts from parents.
“Bill English railed against increasing pressure on parents to make donations when he was in Opposition. However, as Finance Minister he has only made the situation worse.
“It’s completely wrong for schools to be using debt collectors or other third party agencies to collect this money. Donations are voluntary, plain and simple,” Chris Hipkins says.