Date: 20th June 2013
Education is free, right? Well, sort of. Perhaps we could rephrase that to: mediocre education is free, good education costs a little more.
Using Wanaka Primary School as an example, thanks to the parent donations of $150 per student per year the school can provide a much more enriching education experience over and above that allowed by Ministry of Education funding alone. The donations provide lower student-teacher ratios (under 25 students per junior class, under 27 per senior class) without which classes would be up in the 30s; and a number of specialist teachers (Te Reo, music, literacy programmes and extra help for at-risk students).
But it’s not as simple as that. Payment of the donation is voluntary and at Wanaka Primary School uptake is not 100% or even 90%. This leaves the school in the tricky position of having to predict the level of payment and allocate spending around it, keeping their fingers crossed that by the end of the year enough money will flow into the pool to pay for the resources already provided and paid for.
So if payment of an extra $150 for your child to receive a higher standard of education is worthwhile to you, here’s some more good news: your donation is tax deductible. What does that mean? By filling out some easy paper work you can claim 33.33% (a third) of the donated amount back in a relatively painless and quick way. So after your rebate you are only paying $100! You can even claim for past years’ donations. All you need to do is obtain a receipt from your school office and download a form from the IRD website.
For many of us, paying $150 per child may be a large burden on finances but you will probably find that your school is more than willing to work with you on this. Wanaka Primary School encourages payment by instalments, a less painless amount of $37.50 per term, or part payment if you simply cannot afford the full amount.
It’s not too late to make a donation to your school; every little bit is going to help ease the pressure on the school’s books at the end of the year. And just think what you can do with that $50 you are going to have in your pocket when you get your tax rebate.
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