Changes coming to funding formula For Public Schools – Terrelonge

Changes coming to funding Formula For Public Schools – Terrlonge

From The Gleaner, Aug. 18th, 2019 – http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20190818/changes-coming-funding-formula-public-schools-terrelonge

State minister in the Ministry of Education, Alando Terrelonge, says changes to the funding formula for public high schools are coming as a discord over the amount schools charge parents as contribution emerges with the approach of the new school year.

Terrelonge says the changes are being considered in light of the fact that “there are complaints that we receive every year at this time regarding what used to be called auxiliary fees”.

He pointed out that the education ministry had abolished the term ‘Auxiliary Fees’ and replaced it with the term ‘Parent Support Contribution’ and also set certain guidelines for the contributions from parents.

The state minister explained that the changes are being made to the funding formula to increase financing for schools based on three factors: low attainment level on entry, schools with students having the greatest level of difficulty in learning and those with low socio-economic backgrounds.

In the meantime, Terrelonge is calling for schools to continue making education accessible and affordable for all.

According to the state minister, a bulletin was disseminated by the acting chief education officer, Winnie Berry, to all schools outlining the ministry’s position on fees, disbursements and additional resources for schools.

Regarding the parent support contribution, he said the education ministry bulletin reminded that:

  • Students should not be denied entry to schools because of their parents’ inability to pay. The policy is that contribution cannot be mandatory and MUST not be a requirement for registration, school access/attendance or criteria for graduation, examination slips, application to sixth form or access to any public service at a public educational institution.
  • No more than $5,000 is allowed to be charged for registration packages for new students for this academic year.
  • Schools should discuss and get approval from their regional director for the categories that will fall on the school payment voucher.
  • Parents must not be forced to pay a contribution.
  • Schools are asked not to combine the cost of consumables into the cost of packages and mandate payment from parents for the full cost. For example, a charge in packages for five (5) school crests when the parent might not require or may not be able to afford five at once.
  • Schools falling short of funds during the course of the year can write to the permanent secretary, requesting consideration for additional support to close the deficit. This letter must be accompanied by all the supporting documentation and a reply will be provided within 10 working days of receipt.

Terrelonge said he also outlined what additional support is being allocated for students on the PATH programme in an effort to make the educational system more equitable to all.

Further, he said the education ministry will continue providing support for the sixth form programme.

 “As stated in the bulletin, the traditional sixth form programme will remain as it is now, with the school board determining cost once approved by the Ministry and the parents’ contribution. The ministry will continue to subsidise through the regular grant, $17,000 per student, provision of textbooks and other school support,” he explained.

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