Australia: 'I'm not paying': private schools sue parents for not paying fees - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia'I'm not paying': private schools sue parents for not paying fees

21:25  14 september  2019
21:25  14 september  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Her parents pay the remaining tuition for her private high school . The judge has already denied the teen her request for high school tuition and her current living expenses. Here in our country, the parents are not obliged BUT usually pay for their college tuition and other school fees .

Paying for a private school education requires tremendous sacrifice for most parents . So how do you do it? Most schools expect payment of fees in two installments: one due in the summer, typically by July 1, and the other due in the late fall, typically by the end of November of the current academic year.

'I'm not paying': private schools sue parents for not paying fees© Sahlan Hayes Private girls' school Kincoppal Rose Bay sued one couple for $42,000 for unpaid fees.

Private schools are suing parents for not paying their school fees and in some cases expelling students mid-term to staunch a mounting debt.

'I'm not paying': private schools sue parents for not paying fees
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Schools around NSW ranging from high end boarding schools like Kincoppal-Rose Bay and Trinity Grammar to alternative Steiner schools and low-cost Catholic schools are taking parents to court to recover tens of thousands of dollars in fees.

But balancing commerce and mercy, some schools are also extending bursaries to more than half of their boarding students whose families are facing financial strain as a result of the drought.

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Not paying Caitlyn Ricci’s divorced parents , Maura McGarvey and Michael Ricci, are fighting a judge’s order demanding they pay about $US16 “It makes my blood boil listening to a judge tell me that my daughter can go to any school in country she wants to, have no relationship with her parents

Today parents realize that private schools can offer their children the kind of quality education which is hard to come by in our public schools these days. From that point of view a private school education is a good fit philosophically. The stumbling block then becomes the question of how to pay

Association of Independent Schools chief executive Geoff Newcombe said schools had tightened up their fee collection processes over the last seven years to comply with not-for-profit laws.

"We know that we've got many kids whose mums and dads are working two jobs just to pay the fees and I know schools will say, 'We're not going to kick the child out, we will extend it until after they leave'," Dr Newcombe said.

"But we get these almost litigious people on the other side, and they're in the minority, who just decide they're not going to pay," Dr Newcombe said. "Often they'll say, 'My child was badly treated,' or the results weren't what they expected. 'I'm not paying because she didn't get four Band 6s'."

'I'm not paying': private schools sue parents for not paying fees© Jacky Ghossein Association of Independent schools head Geoff Newcombe says private schools are compelled to chase the debts of parents who can afford to pay.

Kincoppal-Rose Bay sued one couple for more than $42,000 in the Downing Centre Local Court last month, including outstanding fees of $24,484, interest amounting to $3016 and and $11,322 in recovery fees. The eastern suburbs Catholic school charges $30,666 for a year 12 student, and a further $26,652 if the student boards.

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These schools are not elite schools , but neither are they inexpensive, so they wind up attracting families who can afford to pay . Parents should have a careful discussion with their children about the costs of college and what kind of performance they expect. “Make it clear that this is their job,” she says.

Private schools in the UK, for some bizarre reason, are subsidised in the same way as charities. Yesterday, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Raynor rolled out plans to tackle this, suggesting a Labour government would take away their charitable status And I ' m just an average earner, I guess.

Georges River Grammar, an independent Anglican school in Bankstown, is suing three separate families for non-payment of fees and excluded the children of consistent non-payers from the grounds, except for students completing Year 12.

Trinity Grammar School and the Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore) have open bankruptcy proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court. According to court documents, Shore is owed more than $32,000 and Trinity is owed more than $33,000. Debt collectors said schools resort to bankruptcy proceedings when they believe parents have the means to pay fees but aren’t co-operating.

Trinity headmaster Tim Bowden said the school had learnt from the global crisis and council was intent on staying on top of its debts. Trinity, which charges nearly $35,000 for a year 12 student and a further $33,000 for boarders, offered a payment plan to parents who fell behind. If the debt continued to stack up, Mr Bowden asked parents to withdraw their sons from the school.

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support, current private - school fees and future college tuition. Rachel Canning has been living with a friend whose father is an attorney and they decided to sue Rachel’s parents to get them to pay for the rest of her private high school as well as access to her college fund so she can go to college.

Parents pay their children’s school fees as a lump sum in advance – anything from a term’s fees or several years of private education. In return for paying upfront the parents are given what the schools class as a discount. And the school keeps whatever is remaining of the returns once they

"People who really want to keep their boys here are desperate to make it happen and will fall behind in terms of their financial commitments to educate their boys. I think you would really do better to get across the debt and some parents get to that point but others don't," Mr Bowden said.

"From time to time it appears the family is not keeping the arrangements we've made and when it gets to the point that we find they're not acting in good faith, that's when we employ an external debt collection agency."

Dr Newcombe said it was illegal to waive school fees for their council directors, so schools were more transparent about the way they collected fees and allocated hardship concessions to eliminate any perception of impropriety. This meant they were obliged to chase up parents who had not paid.

The drought had prompted schools to offer an unprecedented number of bursaries and hardship waivers to boarding students, he said.

A de-identified report compiled by the AIS shows that one school with strict payment and follow-up process has stopped fee collection altogether for families affected by the drought. Its policy is not to accept the removal of those students from the school. Among 11 schools profiled, another school has 168 students whose families are affected by the drought, most of whom are attending school for free. The school has written off the debt.

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However, that does not relieve the co-signer of responsibility for payment on the loan. If you do not have a signed attorney-client fee agreement with the Law Office of Christian Cooper ("the Law Office"), then until such written fee agreement is provided and signed by both a prospective client and attorney

What parents pay : From a copy of the payment bill for new intakes at St. Gregory’s College, Ikoyi, Lagos, and signed by the school ’s administrator, Rev. Though it is much but it is a price I ’ m prepared to pay provided my child is getting the best.” For Chinyere Chidiadi, “It is really outrageous, minus

Many schools offer monthly payment plans to help parents avoid running up massive bills. But some of the schools in the court list had very low fees and those schools took a hard line because they felt that their parents could afford to pay them, Dr Newcombe said.

"Once the word gets out that you're a soft touch you're in big trouble. All of a sudden your revenue drops significantly. You've got to have a financial process and procedure."

Debt collector Roger Mendelson said his business had seen a 35 per cent drop in referrals from schools in the three years from 2015-16 to 2018-19, which was the result of schools keeping on top of their debts before bankruptcy orders were necessary.

"Five years ago we had a lot more debts for quite large amounts and often from quite well known schools, so I think schools seem to have better systems in place," said Mr Mendelson, whose Prushka Fast Debt Recovery service has the longest list of school clients in Australia.

He usually attempts to negotiate a payment plan for lax parents in the first instance and failing that he would seek garnishee orders over the parents' wages. "To get to bankruptcy, schools would only do it if the parent was being very difficult and wasn't prepared to take sensible steps but had the means to pay."

One Georges River Grammar parent, who is being sued by the school, said she ran into arrears after separating from her husband. She does not have the means to pay and he refuses to do so. By the end of 2018, the couple owed $4000.

"The principal said it was like a box of tissues," the mother said. "She said, 'This box of tissues is worth $10 and you only want to pay $1 of it'." The mother started making regular payments to stave off the removal of her children from the school. But the principal told her it would take 70 years to pay off the debt at that rate. Midway through term, the principal told the mother that her children no longer had a place.

Kincoppal-Rose Bay and Georges River Grammar declined to comment.

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