The payment guidelines for Victoria’s public school system has been revised based on findings that some parents may have been overcharged by some schools.
An internal government review, commissioned by the Department of Education and conducted by PTR Consulting, found some schools were charging for some things that should have been free, while others didn’t have hardship policies for struggling parents.
The review also revealed the education department had received 705 complaints by parents relating to school payments over an eight-month period.
According to ABC News, Education Minister James Merlino described the new guidelines as bringing ‘clarity and consistency’ to what schools could charge for.
“What we found is that schools had been applying the parent payment policy inconsistently,” he said. “Schools have been informed of the new policy and the new policy will be enforced.”
This inconsistency is further highlighted by an analysis of MySchool data, as undertaken by Fairfax Media, which found some schools charging as much as $3243 per student over the course of 2014.
In contrast, schools in economically worse-off areas were found to be charging as little as $92 – the result of hardship policies implemented to ensure children are not disadvantaged regardless of their parents’ ability to pay fees.
See more on the new parent payment policies, and the review document, via the Department of Education website.