The Education (School Donations) Amendment Bill has been given a third reading by Parliament. It comes into force on the day after the date of Royal assent.
The new law creates a new category of grants which will pay some schools a nominal amount per student if the school agrees to comply with certain conditions. The intention is to reduce the expectation that parents should pay voluntary contributions to schools for their child's education.
Section 79 of the Education Act 1989 currently authorises the Minister of Education to pay grants and supplementary grants to school boards of trustees. Grants are used for schools’ operational funding. Supplementary grants are paid to boards with the condition that they are used for specific purposes.
The new legislation inserts new sections 79A and 79B into the Act. A new category of grants, "discretionary grants" is created. The Minister of Education must determine the amount of each discretionary grant and it must be made subject to the condition that a board of trustees that receives it does not seek or receive any solicited voluntary payment from parents.