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WA Schools Call in Debt Collectors

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

Perth Now are reporting that parents in Western Australia have dodged paying $2.4 million in school fees in 2016-17.

Approximately $1.5 million of the $2.4 million quoted was for compulsory year 11 and year 12 fees for subject charges and extra-curricular activities for all years. A spokesperson for the Education Department said, "These are courses which parents have enrolled their children into, knowing the cost upfront. Payment plans can be arranged to suit individual circumstances so families experiencing difficulty can pay off the course cost over time. If debt collectors are used, under the department’s policy schools must tell them not to refer to legal action or credit agencies in their letters to families."

The Education Department has claimed that the circumstances of each family are taken into consideration with many debts written-off in accordance with legislative requirements. 

Approximately 39% of the $2.4 million was for families holding 457 Visas who failed to pay in full or part of the $4,000 enrolment fee for public schools. This fee was introduced in 2015 by the WA State Government to help cope with the influx of children belonging to migrant workers who enrolled in public schools.

The department went on to say that to date 250 families had not made a payment for the 2016 school year while a further 139 had only made partial payments and again reiterated that arrangements could be made for payment of school fees. The spokesperson said that children of 457 Visa holders with unpaid fees were allowed to continue to attend public schools despite non-payment by their parents.

Source: Perth Now - October 2017

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