Jump to content

Schools bankrupting parents for fee debts.


  • Please log in to reply
89 replies to this topic

#1 ***MEZ***

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:36 AM

I find this situation quite bizarre.

Firstly that the school allows parents to get so far behind on fees that they would be owing so much. How could the school let it get to the "bankruptible" stage?

Why don't private schools just "end the contract" when fees are a semester behind? They're not charities and it's not as if there isn't a free alternative up the road.  shrug.gif

http://www.smh.com.au/national/schools-mov...90529-bq8b.html

#2 Guest_muminthemaking_*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:46 AM

As I suspected, and the article states, they will let children finish a semester or year, as it's in the childs interest to do so. There are some people in society without a conscience when it comes to paying their bills. (I'm a former credit mgr and have seen it all!)

#3 Guest_keylimepie~_*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:48 AM

They are entitled to recover their money owing, like any other business.

It's not the schools fault parents don't pay.

The school is silly for not cutting them off earlier. I'm sure they have procedures & prosesses they have to go through first though.

Love it how it's the schools fault.  rolleyes.gif  rolleyes.gif
perhaps these families felt a lot of shame to pull their kids out of school. That's no excuse not to pay your bills though.

#4 ~LTM~

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:49 AM

If you don't pay your bills, there are consequences.  Especially in a situation where there is a free alternative down the road.

#5 ***MEZ***

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:52 AM

QUOTE
The school is silly for not cutting them off earlier.


I agree. If an elite school charges $20K a year, then that's a massive bill to get into arrears with. Just try to get that far behind in your mortgage or your Telstra bill for that matter.

Essentially, these parents are using a service without paying.

Edited by Maelstrom, 30 May 2009 - 08:53 AM.


#6 Trilogy

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:55 AM

If your children have used the service you need to pay for what they used, simple.

As others have pointed out, if you can't/won't pay then go to a government school.

#7 TheMuriels

Posted 30 May 2009 - 08:55 AM

People know upfront how much the fees are when they enrol there child(ren).  If you can't pay the fees, don't enrol the child in private eduation.

Edited by TheMuriels, 30 May 2009 - 08:55 AM.


#8 Prizzy

Posted 30 May 2009 - 09:49 AM

Many families have fallen on hard times of late.
I think the GFC is responsible for the majority of this. I feel for the families and the kids. How awful to be so far behind with such big debts.
There has been a small number of kids moved from local private schools to DDs tiny school so its happening all over.
I'm sure the families could afford the fees at the time of enrolment. This is an ugly bit of tall poppy syndrome, typical of EB.

#9 emmafg

Posted 30 May 2009 - 09:52 AM

QUOTE
People know upfront how much the fees are when they enrol there child(ren). If you can't pay the fees, don't enrol the child in private eduation.


So true.

This equally applies to buying houses, cars, holidays, alloys, TV's etc etc.

This is a non-story.

#10 Prizzy

Posted 30 May 2009 - 09:55 AM

I just don't agree.
When I bought my home I plan to be working at least 2 days a week and for my husband's business to continue to be at least as successful as it was the day I bought it.
If one of these things don't go to plan and I can't pay the mortgage, does that mean that I shouldn't have bought it in the first place? If I get sick, should I have only rented an apartment I could pay on centrelink benefits?

Use some common sense.

#11 emmafg

Posted 30 May 2009 - 09:58 AM

QUOTE
If one of these things don't go to plan and I can't pay the mortgage, does that mean that I shouldn't have bought it in the first place? If I get sick, should I have only rented an apartment I could pay on centrelink benefits?


I completely agree with you.  I am sorry if the poor sarcasm in my previous post wasn't obvious.   dry.gif

#12 *LG*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:02 AM

i think houses. etc are a different issue. Although DH and I bought a house last year, in a "lower" class area, knowing that if we went to one wage or interest went up, we could still afford repayments.

HOWEVER - back to the school issue, I see private school as something that you can pay for if you can afford it comfortably - if you can't you don't enrol your child.

DH is a teacher in a private school and I teach in a public school - and we will only send our children if we can comfortably afford to do so. Private schools are a great investment, but not if you make yourself bankrupt. The right public school is also great!! biggrin.gif

#13 Sentient Puddle

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:03 AM

I think it is a difficult situation for the schools involved.  If they turf the student out at the first non payment of fees they disadvantage the child and potentially lose the opportunity of the parent paying fees in the future if their situation improves (as can sometimes happen - if they get another job etc).  I don't think many people make too many conscious decisions they know they can't afford.

ETA - anndee many people's circumstances have changed in ways that even 12 months ago it would have been difficult to imagine.  What might have been comfortable for some 12 months ago (or even 2 months ago) may now be out of reach.  Or have you not been reading the papers about job losses etc?

Edited by ILBB, 30 May 2009 - 10:43 AM.


#14 Phascogale

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:04 AM

QUOTE
If one of these things don't go to plan and I can't pay the mortgage, does that mean that I shouldn't have bought it in the first place?
No, it means that you will probably do something to stop going bankrupt if the situation arises and before you get kicked out of your home.  It may include selling and getting something smaller or renting for a while.

The same situation applies when you have your child in a private school.  You know what the fees are.  If you lose your job, then maybe you should think about pulling your child out as there is normally a low cost/free alternative down the road.  Not keep your child in there and rack up a large debt that will need to be paid for.

I too think it's a non story.

#15 Guest_Cat©_*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:05 AM

I feel for the parents.

However they needed to pull thier children out as soon as they knew they were going into finacial trouble. Sad for the child but thier house is more important.

Do remember though that some school will charge you till year end anyway, as written in thier policies!!! So you could end up with a $20k bill per child even if you do pull them out! $20k is probably less than some schools charge!!!

Neither are hugely in the wrong, just a sign of the times and a sign that the families didnt have enough put aside for such emergencies.

#16 Guest_keylimepie~_*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:07 AM

Prizzy I'm not sure I understand your point.

If you use a service you pay for it.

If you fall on hard times you rebudget & work out if you can still afford certain things. If you can't afford foxtel you get rid of it. If you can no longer pay the private school fees you go to public school.

I'm sure if families talk to the school when changes like loosing a job ocurr then they may try to work out a payment plan. There's no use excepting a service you can't pay for.

#17 JRA

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:08 AM

Around here there are a few families who have moved children from private school to state school, due to the fees.

There are also quite a few who have lost multi million dollar homes to margin calls.

Both are VERY sad. But sadly we need to pay for things.

If the parents don't pay their school feeds it means higher fees for those that remain.

QUOTE
I'm sure the families could afford the fees at the time of enrolment. This is an ugly bit of tall poppy syndrome, typical of EB.

Yes, and pulling a child out of school due to inability to pay the fees is a really big move, both for the child and for the parent. Many understandably hold out the hope that the situation can change. Selling a car, a painting and investment is not a huge emotional decision, and impact on the childrens life like pulling them out of school.

#18 Guest_Cat©_*

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:11 AM

QUOTE
If you can't afford foxtel you get rid of it. If you can no longer pay the private school fees you go to public school



ah but foxtel has break fees, and so do schools, or often they make you pay to term end or year end.

If you have sold all assets to pay the daily bills already and have your house on the market but no one to buy it, what do you do then?

#19 ***MEZ***

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:30 AM

QUOTE
Use some common sense.


Is it common sense to keep using a service you can't pay for that may bankrupt you, or to use the free alternative up the road? I guess we all have a different sense of 'sense', so to speak.

#20 Gangnam Style

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:41 AM

Did you actually read the article maelstrom? As another poster has mentioned, they'll allow the child to end an unpaid term or semester so as to minimise disruption to the child:

QUOTE
Firstly that the school allows parents to get so far behind on fees that they would be owing so much. How could the school let it get to the "bankruptible" stage?


PLUS, even if the parents pulled the children out mid-term, they are still liable for fees to the end of term, or year depending on the school's rules.

Obviously you have no idea of how high the fees are at the schools in question. Annual fees for one child can be $20-30,000, or more with other levies. Two children, $60K. Boarding in senior years can be $50K each year. The main school referred to is St Josephs, a Catholic school, so more likely to have families with two, three or more boys attending. I can see how it would be very easy for a family with two or three children to owe a school enough money for the school to be pursuing them in court.

That said, I do tend to agree with the Greens spokeperson who said the level of Federal funding these schools receive would go some way to absorbing the debts.  wwhistle.gif

Edited by Contumely, 30 May 2009 - 10:51 AM.


#21 the humming cat

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:43 AM

QUOTE
I just don't agree.
When I bought my home I plan to be working at least 2 days a week and for my husband's business to continue to be at least as successful as it was the day I bought it.

Houses are a bit different, but yes, if you can't afford to pay your mortgage then you will need to sell your home. With your theory, if your husband's business drops and you have stopped working and have 2 kids and can't afford the school fees, then you think its ok to keep your kids there, taking up 2 spots that someone else will pay for as you had well meaning to pay when you enrolled them?  wacko.gif

To put it simply, if multiple parents don't pay there fees, then the staff don't get paid, rescourses are not provided and the school will struggle to stay open!

#22 Hashley

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:46 AM

QUOTE
"If they want to [take the matter to court] they've got every right to and I can't blame them," said the mother, who did not want to be named. "It's a lot of money and they've got to retrieve it somehow."

She said she and her husband ran into financial difficulties while their son was in his senior year and it did not seem fair to pull him out.
I feel for the family and it would be a tough decision. The family isn't trying to evade the debt, they know the consequences and will pay for their decision. I would hope they could have worked something out with the school instead of bankruptcy, they don't sound like unreasonable people not prepared to pay for a service they are using.

#23 papilio

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:48 AM

Non-story really... Willow goes to a private school.  We can afford it now, but if either of us lost our jobs then we probably couldn't.  

If we were unemployed and looking for work, we'd probably be quietly confident that there would be no point pulling her out and disrupting her if a new job was just around the corner.  I can see why parents would want to keep them in as long as possible.  School is not just about learning, it's also about a sense of community.

#24 Gangnam Style

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE
can't afford the school fees, then you think its ok to keep your kids there...


As I said, the schools in question will have in their contract with the parents, that fees are payable to semester, term or year end whether your child is there or not! So pulling them out makes no difference to what is contractually owed to the school.

#25 Elemental

Posted 30 May 2009 - 10:55 AM

My school wasn't quite on par with some of the ones mentioned, but it required a minimum of a full term's fees paid in advance, and a semester's notice of discontinuation of enrolment. ie you could be ahead in your fees (for what you were actually paying for - ie tuition for a term) but if your situation changed you still had to pay for an extra term. If you're going to have to pay the fees anyway I can see why parents would leave their kids there.

That being said, $30kpa per child makes me wince.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

An open letter to Tony Abbott: please salvage our super

We face financial ruin, but most of us don?t realise it. If we don?t act together to salvage our superannuation, I have no doubt the new GFC will be the Girls? Financial Crisis.

'I'm happy to know I'm changing lives': surrogate mum of two

I know that once the baby is born, I will focus on the gift I have given, and watch the parents with their new child. I can't wait for that day.

Birth trauma and the issue of informed consent

There is a perception that women should just be happy they have a healthy baby in their arms. But for women who experienced birth trauma, there's a lot more to it.

Tips for managing pollen allergies and hayfever

They're simple tips, but they can have a big impact on those who suffer from hayfever and pollen allergies.

Ada Nicodemou shares tribute to her stillborn baby

Just over one month since Ada Nicodemou and her husband lost their second son, the Home and Away star has shared a touching poem for her baby.

Mum causes stir breastfeeding on train

?To the woman breastfeeding her kid on the train. Seriously! On the train?" began the letter of complaint.

10 things they don?t tell you about being pregnant

As I slowly waddle my ever-changing pregnant body towards the finishing line of my due date, it?s becoming increasingly clear there are a lot of things they just don?t tell you about pregnancy.

Overcoming a fear of the dark

A toddler's fear of the dark is very normal, but there are ways parents can help children through this stage in their development.

Kids, TV and movies: how young is too young?

It seems you don't have to throw the TV and iPad out the window - it all boils down to moderation, supervision and interaction.

Video: Baby's first birthday is a special day for mum, too

?A baby?s first birthday is also mum?s first birthday.?

The day Supernanny came to tea

Prince William's favourite celebrity child trainer Jo Frost puts Bryony Gordon and her toddler through their paces.

Tales from the homefront

When you're at work you sort of assume that your house is basically just sitting there quietly doing nothing until you return. However, since spending my days at home, I've learned this couldn't be further from the truth.

The words I hated hearing as new mum

It was less than a week after my son was born that I first heard it - from my mother.

To the pharmacist who sold me baby formula

On the rare occasion I catch sight of you at school, or around town, I think back to our earliest exchange. I?m sure you have no recollection of it at all.

Babies may benefit from autism therapy

Children showing signs of autism don't usually receive early intervention until well into toddlerhood or later, but a new study suggests infants with symptoms of the developmental disorder might benefit from therapy from as early as six months.

Knatalye and Adeline born with an everlasting bond

Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith are a lot like any other identical twin girls, but there is one dramatic difference: they're joined at the chest and shares several internal organs.

The question this dad wishes he'd asked his wife

I should have seen that my wife wasn't the same person I'd fallen in love with, but we were both too focused on simply trying to get by.

Why we should talk about the deaths of the Hunt children

The deaths are too horrible even to think about. Yet we owe it to the children - Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe Hunt - to think long and hard about it all.

Baby dies of meningococcal weeks after vaccine application denied

A six-month-old girl has died from meningococcal disease just weeks after an application for government funding of a vaccine for the most deadly strain of the virus was rejected.

Finding the right balance when playing with your kids

Being too involved in our children?s play and not allowing our kids enough free time for unstructured activities can mean our kids miss out on the value that play offers.

Creative DIY light shades

The Pop Light light shade comes in a flat pack already made - it's up to you to design it as you'd like.

The battle of iParenting versus imagination

Have we forgotten how to be imaginative, resourceful parents?

Why movement is so important for your baby's growth

Letting your child move as much as possible in the early years ? using all senses, engaging in the real world, preferably outside ? will help them grow up healthier, smarter, calmer and stronger.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

Losing yourself to motherhood

While watching your baby grow into a unique little person is exciting and wondrous, the intensity of meeting everyone else?s needs can ever so sneakily overtake your own needs for self-care.

Tearing during delivery: the facts

Almost all women will experience bruising, grazing or tearing after a vaginal birth. Depending on the degree of tearing, there are various treatments available.

6 tips for a day out with a baby and toddler

Outings can be lots of fun with the kids, but there are inevitable challenges. Here's some information about days out to help you be a little more prepared.

Why I invited a dozen people to watch my son's birth

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I warned that there would be nudity.

Getting labour started: tips for a natural induction

When your baby?s due date comes and goes without so much as a pop - let alone a bang - it can be disheartening. Mums and a doula share their stories of natural inductions.

7 mistakes old hands make with new babies

As I sat across the table from my friend ? me, a seasoned mother of three; her, a brand new mum ? I thought of all the mistakes an old-hand parent can make when visiting a newborn baby.

That's my boy: a dad's diary of the first 4 months

Unbearable anxiety, unspeakable joy, constant exhaustion and bouts of frustration ... The many shocks of first-time fatherhood resound in a dad's diary of his son's early months.

One of the most important things a new mum can do

Finances may not be as cute as a newborn, but with many women?s working arrangements changing post-baby, monetary matters need attention too.

Single, pregnant - and 51

She first became a mum at 49 - now, two years later, Tracey Khan is pregnant with her second child.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

 

Reader offer

2 FOR 1 TICKET OFFER

For Shopping, For Advice, For Baby & You. Enjoy a special day out with fabulous shopping from over 200 brands, leading parenting experts offering advice on a range of topics, and amazing children?s entertainment

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.