College dumps donations to help parents

By Rob MacGregor, Boris Jancic

Huntly principal Tom Foy has axed school donations. Photo / Dean Purcell
Huntly principal Tom Foy has axed school donations. Photo / Dean Purcell

Huntly College has led a handful of schools in doing away with donations - a change principal Tim Foy said was driven by the needs of parents.

"This community doesn't have a lot of money and we did not want any students being penalised if they couldn't pay the donation."

Despite no longer collecting donations, the school had continued to provide the same services to its 330 students as it had before, Mr Foy said.

"We would always like more (funding), but as a decile one school we are reasonably well resourced and we make the budget work."

He said the collection rate for the school's previous $50 donation was between 15 and 20 per cent.

"It wasn't really fair on the parents that were paying."

Huntly College parent Kim Woods said she could not remember ever paying a donation since her son Jack, 15, started at the school three years ago because they were not required to.

"If I was charged it I would pay it but there are a lot of families that obviously can't afford it."

Mrs Woods said Jack was thriving at the school and she used money saved on not paying donations to put towards his hockey fees.

"I guess it's an option to have the money there for other things such as sport or extracurricular activities," she said.

Despite a trend of rising school donation requests since 2005, seven state high schools in the North Island have reduced the amount they asked for.

Another low-decile school, Ota-huhu College, reduced the amount it asked parents to contribute from $55 to $30.

Executive officer Chris Foote said the school hoped the change would bring in more funding, but the collection rate had dropped from about 30 to 20 per cent.

Two high-decile schools, Cambridge High and Wellington Girls' College, also lowered the amount they asked for in donations.

Cambridge High School principal Phillip McCreery said: "We didn't want to be too much of a burden for people in the area with lower incomes."

Read more: 'Free' school costs almost $1000 a year

- NZ Herald

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