Debt collectors used for school fees
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 12:03p.m.
Some schools are using debt collectors to make sure parents pay "voluntary" donations.
Documents obtained by the Dominion Post show that some schools have been warned for not being upfront about some fees being optional, while other schools have been caught trying to withhold privileges until "voluntary" fees were paid.
By law, New Zealand children have the right to a free education from age five to 19.
However, some state schools say they can't survive on Government funding alone, so parents are asked for an annual donation, in addition to compulsory fees.
But the documents show the Ministry of Education has had to step in and tell some schools to stop some of their money-raising tactics.
Hastings' Karamu High School was reprimanded in September 2010 after a parent was told her daughter would not be allowed to buy a ball ticket or order a school leaver's jersey until donation money was paid.
Southland Girls' High School was warned for charging parents $60 to cover the cost of relief teachers during a school camp. A compulsory $90 "activity fee" was also disallowed.
A parent of a student at Wakatipu High School complained after receiving an invoice for unpaid fees and donations from debt collection agency Baycorp.
Schools' operational funding was increased by two percent in this year's budget, but Principals' Federation president Paul Drummond said funding hasn't kept up with actual costs and schools rely heavily on parents' voluntary support.
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16/07/2012 12:59:23 p.m.
Exercise your rights, honestly which Collection Agency will be stupid enough to take you to court over donations.
You can reverse it and take them to the Disputes Tribunal claiming Oppressive Conduct lols and throw in that they are stressing you out which is hurting your family.
The Agency will have to be very careful as to what they do with this debt for hehe DONATIONS, gees Baycorp you are classic, lol..
10/07/2012 10:47:04 p.m.
When i say Original Documents, i mean the agreement from the School that most importantly will have your signature stating you agree that if you don't pay the fees as well as donations, then the school will be allowed to give your details to a collection agency for collection. You do not want a copy of school policy, you want the policy with your signature on it. Keep any letters you get from Baycorp as well as the School so they cannot deny anything.
One more thing, make sure Baycorp does not try to make their letters sound like court jagon, they are not allowed to mimic any of it.
Pay your fees that you have to, but if you can't afford to pay the donations then don't, though they are tax deductible, who wants to wait for a year for some reimbursement when you may need the money for your family now.
Good Luck to all Parents
10/07/2012 8:39:48 p.m.
This is an easy one, all the parents need to do is get in touch with the Collection Agency in writing only (do not talk to them at all) then state that as the Agency is a 3rd party, they have no relationship with them at all, your relationship in this case is with the school and the debt is to be disputed as they are donations only, any more attempts to get this payment will be classed as harassment and oppressive conduct.
There must be a contract of some sort that the Debt Collectors have if they think they can do this so ask them in writing only for a copy of the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS, no documents means they have nothing to go on and even if they threaten with court action, they have to be very careful indeed.
Lols Baycorp, you know what i mean don't you
10/07/2012 2:30:59 p.m.
Id also add debt listings stay on a person record for 5 years. For a school to do this over voluntary fees is a social injustice. If John Campbells do a story on this will the debt be wipped from parents credit records.
10/07/2012 2:25:03 p.m.
chris smith wrote:
bullly tactics for sure it would be interesting to see what the minister of education has to say(wonder what kind of mess she can get in with this lot)
if the government cant fund schools properly they maybe it time for charter schools our future depends on the education system working
10/07/2012 1:17:24 p.m.
This is little short of blackmail and standover bully tactics. Charter Schools should fix all this.Fees are tax deductable aint they I'd assume the reporter forgot to mention that fact.
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