Prin­ci­pal: Ad­min fee is sim­ply not com­pul­sory


The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By TADHG EVANS

TRALEE CBS, The Green, has firmly stated that the €150 ‘stu­dent con­tri­bu­tion’ it re­quests from par­ents and guardians ahead of each school year is not com­pul­sory and said its re­quests are com­pat­i­ble with Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tives.

The school met with crit­i­cism last week on so­cial me­dia plat­forms, with par­ent Magda Graszk set­ting up a pe­ti­tion against the re­quested con­tri­bu­tion to CBS The Green. The pe­ti­tion at­tracted some 200 sig­na­tures in the space of a week.

In a let­ter sent to par­ents in June, the school ex­plained that, “un­for­tu­nately due to ed­u­ca­tional cut­backs it is not pos­si­ble to op­er­ate the school ef­fec­tively with­out the im­po­si­tion of an ad­min­is­tra­tion fee”. The money cov­ers the cost of items such as school jour­nals, in­sur­ance, pho­to­copy­ing, com­puter li­cences, exam fees, work­shops, and guest speak­ers.

The school also stated that “each stu­dent will be pro­vided with his own locker and key on pay­ment of €100”, adding that “locker keys will be dis­trib­uted as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter pay­ment is made”.

The points around lock­ers and keys have been ques­tioned by Ms Graszk.

“I un­der­stand that vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tions are im­por­tant to schools and I want to sup­port the school,” she said. “But I am con­cerned that peo­ple that can’t af­ford this won’t have lock­ers. I couldn’t even lift my son’s bag be­cause his books were so heavy.”

In a state­ment is­sued this week Tralee CBS said that, “un­der no cir­cum­stances does non-pay­ment of the con­tri­bu­tion re­sult in a child not be­ing given a locker or be­ing ex­cluded from any part of the school cur­ricu­lum or from recreation or ac­tiv­i­ties”.

It added that the school is not unique in re­quest­ing such con­tri­bu­tions and that a stu­dent’s place in the school and ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes and ser­vices does not de­pend on pay­ing the con­tri­bu­tion.

Prin­ci­pal Anne O’Cal­laghan said the school’s let­ter in June re­quested, not de­manded, a con­tri­bu­tion.

The school has said the pay­ment re­quested is en­tirely vol­un­tary, and there­fore le­gal, adding that it takes “no plea­sure in hav­ing to rely on th­ese con­tri­bu­tions but we have no al­ter­na­tive...”

Ms Graszk was also told her son would be fa­cil­i­tated if he needs a locker, re­gard­less of whether or not the con­tri­bu­tion is paid.

Photo by Dom­nick Walsh

Magda Grazsk and her Son Pa­tryk who is a stu­dent at the CBS The Green Sec­ondary School in Tralee . She’s run­ning a pe­ti­tion against a €150 vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion re­quested by the school.

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