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Schools Enlisting Debt Collectors to Make Parents Pay “Voluntary” Donations

It seems that I need to go back and consult a dictionary for the definition of the word ‘voluntary’:

Schools have enlisted debt collectors to make parents pay “voluntary” donations, with one school attempting to ban a teenager from the ball until the optional fee was paid.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act reveal cases brought to the attention of the education minister, including a furious parent who received a debt notice from a debt-collecting agency in the name of his son.

Schools have been sent warnings for fudging the fact that some fees are optional, while others have been caught trying to withhold privileges unless the “voluntary” fees were paid.

By law, every child has the right to a free education from age 5 to 19. But state schools say they cannot survive on government funding so ask parents for an annual donation – on top of compulsory fees. In the year to December 2010, schools collected $101m in donations.

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