Catholic Education: A positive choice
Your Catholic school Thank you for choosing Catholic schooling for your child. There are around 5,000 young people enrolled in our 24 primary and four secondary schools in the Dunedin diocese (covering Otago and Southland). The people of the South have always placed a high value on education and there are many fine schools available for families in this part of New Zealand. Your choice to commence or continue Catholic schooling for your child speaks powerfully about what matters to you and what your hopes are for your child.
Paying your share makes Catholic schooling possible: Attendance Dues
A different deal There is a cost to your choice. Catholic schooling is more expensive than state schools. The main reason is that while the Government meets the ownership costs (land and buildings) of state schools from general taxation, the Catholic church has to meet the ownership costs of its schools from those who attend them. These costs include purchasing land, building and maintaining school facilities and insurance. Historically, many of these costs were funded through loans, which need to be repaid. While considerable debt has been paid off, new debt continues to be needed to upgrade (and in some cases expand) the Catholic school network, and keep up with the Ministry of Education’s school property standards.
How attendance payments work
Most of the owners of Catholic schools in New Zealand (Bishops and religious orders) have pooled their resources to manage the costs of owning the schools. By working together, we achieve lower interest rates on debt, better terms, more manageable payments and lower insurance premiums. The Dunedin diocese share of the annual costs of ownership for 2016 is around $2 million. By law, we are able to charge parents and caregivers of children at Catholic schools a fee to meet those costs. This is known as an attendance due. Parents and caregivers are legally obliged to pay this – it is not a donation or voluntary payment. The payment is not based on any capital expenditure at the school you attend. It represents your share of the overall costs each year of continuing to provide a Catholic school option for children in New Zealand. Parents and caregivers before you have paid their share, and allowed you to exercise your choice for a Catholic education for your child. Parents and caregivers after you will enjoy the same choice because you pay your share.
Helping those who struggle
Despite their best intentions, some parents and caregivers struggle to afford the payments, for all the sorts of reasons that life throws at us. If that happens, what are your options? The sooner you ask for help, the sooner we can provide it. The Bishops of this Diocese have consistently said that no-one from a Catholic family is to be denied access to a Catholic education solely due to inability to pay. In cases of hardship, talk to your parish priest or school principal. They can talk through your situation and help find options to suit, including: • Spreading payments in a manageable way, preferably through direct debit or automatic payment • Reducing the amount you have to pay in the current year • Reducing any debt you have built up from previous years • Accessing a subsidy from trusts or donations intended to help with the costs of Catholic education.
Annette Godman is the person in the Diocesan office to call about managing your payments or dealing with any arrears. You can email Annette at [email protected] or call her on (03) 474 1994 (extension 730).
View Catholic Education: A positive choice full document of information on why parents pay a fee for their children to attend a Catholic school and what the money is used for.
Answering your questions
Apart from your parish priest or school principal, your main point of contact for any questions about the attendance dues system or the information presented on your invoice is Dione Price, the Attendance Dues Administrator.
Attendance Dues Administrator:
Phone: 03 4741994 ext 716
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 03 4741994 ext 730
Email: [email protected]
Catholic Pastoral Centre
300 Rattray Street
Private Bag 1941