SINN Fein Senator Paul Gavan has called on the government to back legislation to end so called “voluntary” school contributions. Reacting to the introduction of a Bill by party colleagues Deputy Matt Carty and Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Senator Gavan said
“I commend my colleagues for introducing this very important piece of legislation before the Dáil”
“Around this time every year without fail, many families are under extreme pressure to meet the rising costs of the return to school.
“Among these costs, one of the most significant is the voluntary contribution. Here in Limerick families can be asked to pay €200, €300, or even €400 per child.
“These contributions can add significant pressure, as schools mainly seek the payment in September, which on top of all of the other expenses can tip many families to breaking point.
It is shocking that schools have been so underfunded by successive governments that they’re left with no choice but to ask for help from parents to keep them afloat – that parents are being put to the pin of their collar to keep the lights and heating on in their child’s school.
“As a father of 3 I am fully aware of the costs of getting back to school each year, before the schools start asking for these voluntary contributions.
“This Bill is about a roadmap to ending the need for such contributions, and the banning of them. There should be no need whatsoever if we fund our education system properly.
“In the interim, this Bill will place an obligation on schools to make clear to families that these contributions are voluntary.
“It will ensure that no child is stigmatised or denied opportunities because their parents are not in a position to make a contribution.