How voluntary is this voluntary parental contribution actually? At some schools it does not seem to be so voluntary. At the primary school where Rocco was sitting, you received a reminder if you did not pay and now in the high school of Rocco, you get one invoice including the compensation for his school trip, his deposit for his locker and the voluntary contribution. That is not very voluntary. In fact, I am no exception. According to the study by 'Parents & Education', no less than three-quarters of parents experience the voluntary parental contribution as an obligation.
Some schools exclude children from school trips and festivities because their parents have not paid the voluntary parental contribution. Is this allowed? What does that voluntary parental contribution actually mean? What is being done with it? And especially: how voluntary is this?
What about this voluntary parental contribution?
Schools receive money from the government to buy teaching materials, such as textbooks. In addition, they may ask parents for a financial voluntary contribution for extra activities and facilities that are separate from the curriculum. Consider, for example, school camp, festivities or additional teaching material, but some schools also pay school swimming and remain out of this pot. This money is certainly important because let's be honest, these kinds of activities make school a lot more fun!
It is really voluntary
The voluntary parental contribution is indeed really voluntary. Logical because otherwise it would have had a different name. But the contribution is also useful, so it is certainly important that enough money is collected. Otherwise it will be very boring at school ...
The amounts differ per school. One school only requires a few bucks, the other school can ask a few hundred euros. If you then have several children at such a school, this amount can increase considerably. Not everyone is financially capable of that. The amount must, however, always be approved by the Participation Council.
Rights and obligations
The voluntary parental contribution is subject to legal rules:
1) The medezeggenschapsraad must agree with the amount and the spending.
2) Schools can not refuse new pupils because their parents do not pay a contribution.
3) The school must inform parents about the amount of the contribution in the school guide
4) Schools must communicate clearly that the contribution voluntarily is
The only legally required contribution that parents / pupils have to pay is the lesson or course fee. For every student who is sixteen on 1 August, tuition fees have to be paid.
If you do not pay the voluntary parental contribution, however, it may be that a child can not participate in a certain activity. This also applies only to matters that are not mandatory within the curriculum. Fortunately, not every school punishes a child whose parents have not paid contributions. Schools and parents often come out with each other.
Apparently there is still a lot of confusion and schools are not always careful with this. Last week, GroenLinks and SP announced an initiative law that forbids schools to exclude pupils. It remains to be seen what will come out of this! So with this: 'To be continued!'