PRIMARY schools must put an end to demanding ‘immoral’ cash payments from parents, a local TD has urged.
Fine Gael Cork South West TD Jim Daly, who is also vice-chairman of the Oireachtas Education Committee, said that a significant number of parents now find themselves under pressure to find cash for so-called voluntary contributions.
‘The practice of primary schools demanding money from parents and unjust,’ he said.
‘Every year parents approach me about this issue and inform me of just how difficult it is for them to come up with the funds,’ he told the Star. ‘They already have the significant costs of books and clothing during the back-to-school period, without getting a bill from the school the first week back, for services the children are entitled to free of charge under constitutional law. The practice needs to come to an end.’
Deputy Daly, who is a former school principal himself, believes that the Minister should go a step further and provide funding for free school books and uniforms, along with class resources.
The starting point for this move is the elimination of voluntary contributions which are estimated at €42m. Deputy Daly says while this figure may seem high, it would be a tiny percentage of a total annual budget of nearly €8.3bn.
‘I do not blame the school authorities for seeking additional “voluntary contributions” from parents, in their efforts to increase their resources. However, there are many parents who feel pressured into paying these monies, and are embarrassed.’