Education (School Donations) Amendment Act 2019
The Education (School Donations) Amendment Act 2019 came into force on 22 October 2019.
This Act supports the school donations scheme announced as part of the Budget 2019 package.
From the 2020 school year, Decile 1-7 state and state-integrated schools will be able to choose to receive a $150 per student, per year payment if they agree not to ask parents and caregivers for donations.
Although school donations are voluntary many families can feel under pressure to pay them and this can place pressure on household budgets. This initiative is designed to alleviate that pressure and expectation.
- Creates a new category of grants called discretionary grants
- Provides that the Minister of Education may pay discretionary grants to boards subject to the condition that a board does not solicit voluntary payments from parents, and any other condition determined by the Minister
- Provides that the Minister of Education may prescribe exemptions to the mandatory condition that a board does not solicit voluntary payments from parents, by notice in the Gazette
- Enables funding provided as discretionary grants to be effectively recovered from boards that have failed to comply with the conditions of that funding.
The Act enables the Minister to pay donations scheme funding as a discretionary grant with conditions attached. The main condition is that boards of trustees agree to stop asking parents for voluntary payments, and the Act enables the Minister to recover funding paid under the school donations scheme if boards then request voluntary payments from parents. The mechanism enabling funds to be recovered is intended to give boards of trustees a strong incentive to ensure they understand and comply with the scheme rules once they opt in for the $150 per student per year payments.
The Minister of Education has issued an exemption to the mandatory condition that boards cannot solicit voluntary payments from parents. This exemption means that boards receiving a discretionary grant may continue to seek or receive solicited voluntary payments from parents for school camps. A “school camp” is any curriculum-related activity where students are expected to stay overnight as part of that activity.
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