February 27, 2019


Mum shares a rant about parents who refuse to pay ‘voluntary’ school fees.

One mum got a bit feisty when it came to people refusing to pay school fees. Do you agree?

“It really annoys me so much that paying ‘voluntary fees’ for public schools is even an issue.

“I am NOT talking about parents who really can’t afford it (fair enough!), I am talking about those parents who moan and groan and make such a big deal about paying a couple of hundred dollars a year to help make their school even better, and then spend thousands on holidays or cars or clothes!

“I am so grateful that my daughter goes to such an amazing public school and when I compare the voluntary contribution to private school fees, I am only too happy to pay towards the upkeep of the school (it can only benefit my daughter!).

“I loathe the attitude – ‘why should we pay anything? education should be free!’ Stop complaining and just pay up – it will make your school a better place!”

Not everyone agree with her opinion though.

Many parents shared that it really is an extra expense they simply can’t afford on top of uniform, stationery, excursion fees etc.

Comments include:

“It used to be that every child has a right to a free education. Gimme a break. $53 a tunic. Sports uniforms. Jackets. Homework fees. Online maths program fees. Online spelling program fees. Gymnastics. Sports and swimming carnivals. School photos. Healthy bloody harold. School camp. Year 6 jackets. Byo devices… And they want more on top…get nicked, we pay enough as it is.”

“I refuse to pay because I supply, School Uniforms, School shoes, School books, School Back pack, School Hat, Arts council, School disco, Sports, Fund Raising, School camps, School swimming, Lunch( and then you are told what to and what not to pack), School music ( I have to supply there own Instrument), And any extra thing that pops up during the school yr. Free dress ( Gold coin donation) And this is why I refuse to pay school frees.”

“Paying the fee doesn’t bother me. What’s annoying is that they call it a voluntary Fee, then continue to hound families to pay up. If they want the fees paid then just call it as it is, a compulsory fee.”

“Education is a right not a privilege and the quality of your education should not be based on the economic wealth of your family. State ran schools should have access to enough funding that a scheme like the voluntary fee scheme should not impact the quality of education that the children in that school receive.”

Meanwhile other parents argued that it is in the best interest for the kids.

“I agree my feelings exactly. Even if things are tight pay them off it is for the benefit of YOUR child. Should be an honour to have a child to pay fees for!”

“We were just saying this this morning! A couple hundred for your child’s schooling and addition resources… big deal!!!! And yet those who refuse to pay are usually the first to complain!!!!!!!”

“And it’s not like these fees are a surprise… budget for your kids schooling!!!”

“I totally agree . Good Education is key to your children future . What if you pay a bit more . Isn’t it reward enough to let your children have a better school environment.”

“I always pay it, at the end of the day it benefits your children”

“I am so glad to see this post. As parents, we choose to have kids and we should want what is best for them. It’s great to finally see some parents that dont want everything for nothing for the kids they chose to have. Kudos to the ones who dont repeatedly have their hand out.”

Join our Facebook discussion below:

  • I pay my ‘voluntary’ fees but it’s a real struggle as I have four kids and our family survives on a part time wage. I complain in my own mind but pay them.


  • I think it is wrong to “expect” parents to pay “voluntary” contributions but it should be up to the parent and not a name and shame thing. Everyone has their own reasons for paying or not paying. I myself was asked to pay a voluntary contribution for a book pack – I refused and went and bought the items myself for a quarter of the price. So it can vary depending on the school and what they are suggesting the money is going towards.


  • I know a parent at school who brags about not paying her school fees because it is a voluntary contribution. To be fair, she makes some points about the ongoing levies, school fundraising etc It is a lot during the year for our kids but it does benefit them. I think people also forget that the Government provides funding for running schools but of course, having extra monies coming in from parents means they can allocate other funds to maintenance or upgrades.


  • Isn’t this the price of having kids. why would you expect not to pay for school? The government doesn’t always find schools in the right ways so lend them a hand in helping your child’s future


  • I agree. If you can afford to pay them, then do it. It’s only for the benefit of your kids ultimately


  • If they want these fees paid then they should change it to compulsory fees then no-one would have a problem. What I don’t agree with is having to buy uniforms where the school dictates from. As long as you can sew the school badge on and it’s the same colour, why aren’t parents allowed to buy them from somewhere cheaper?


  • Nothing in life is free and everything costs including schooling which comes from taxes. Schools are expensive to run and manage and every extra dollar towards the cost of educating a child is welcomed by schools.


  • Some fees do seem to be getting unreasonable and the price of uniforms alone are huge for kids who will grow out of them quickly. I’m sure people who can afford to pay them do but if they think they are unreasonable it’s their right to voice it.


  • I know a family who could have paid an excursion fee at the beginning if the year but was struggling so decided to pay for them when the kids went to the excursions. They kept a list of the fees they paid for each individual excursion + for which child, They discovered they had saved several dollars for each child. Voluntary school fees add up if you have 2 or more children at school. Some if you have 2 or more children at the same school ask for a bit less for the younger ones. A lot of schools now have fetes, + also quiz nights, pupils’ discos, concerts etc for which they charge an admission fee. I never asked to go to a school camp as I knew my parents definitely had no money to spare. My Dad was sick in hospital and had already used up his sick leave and annual leave. Centrelink hadn’t paying any benefit. Lucky we grew some of our own vegetables, had fruit trees and hens laying eggs.


  • I pay them every year but we cannot afford it , my two youngest are close to starting primary school and one school is crossed off the list purely because of the expense with the uniform before I even look at the fees


  • The SA system is great. Fees are compulsory but if you are low income you get a big discount. It covers most of our stationery so that takes away one of the stresses from parents and mean all children have the same.
    They should have this system in the other states its the fairest and easiest IMHO.


  • When it’s voluntary, then each family is free to decide whether they pay or not and we should leave them making that decision without judging or ranting about it.


  • If it is a genuinely voluntary fee go speak to the school principal before you whinge and find out what it is for and then decide if you will pay and not increase the help to your child. Whatever you don’t pay has to be found by the P & C [which you probably also don’t support] or has to be done without. There are many who genuinely can’t afford a few extra dollars – but they will try their damndest to do so – they need help – the whingers generally don’t need anything but a very stern look or walk away from them.


  • It’s not a voluntary fee. Maybe it needs to be renamed under the guise of school improvement fee or something that easily identifies what the money is for. People might be more open to paying it then.


  • The school trips are expensive too! And the sport fees and uniforms.


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