Plumstead High cuts staff over non-payment of fees

Plumstead High School had to let go of ten staff as a direct result of parents not paying school fees. Picture: Janice Matthews

Plumstead High School principal Craig George has warned parents that stricter measures will be used to ensure payment of school fees this year.

This after the school had to let go of four teaching staff and six administrative, maintenance and cleaning staff due to non-payment of fees last year.

In an end-of-year newsletter last year, Mr George thanked parents who had diligently paid their fees, saying that “without your continuous support, we would not have survived thus far”.

But he said the governing body had had to cut staff and cancel service provider contracts because of those parents who had not honoured their obligation and commitment to pay outstanding school fees,

“The immediate consequences of these forced decisions is that we have had to reduce the number of teacher-classes, increase class sizes as encouraged by the WCED (Western Cape Education Department) and plan to pay outstanding bills for essential services.

“It does not help that the WCED announced via media that Treasury has cut the education budget by R716.4 million. In the past, we were able to absorb the impact on our school to some extent, but the lack of fee-paying parents has made it extremely difficult to stay with our head above water. True, as a country, we are generally experiencing some economic challenges, but is your child’s education and the quality there-of, not a priority? If it is not, can it be justified to make demands of/on our school that cannot be realised because of a lack of funds?”

Going forward, he said, parents would have to provide proof of a stop-order payment of school fees, and textbooks would be issued on a “first come, first given basis” on the condition parents had arranged a proof of stop order.

“Over 236 students have not yet returned their textbooks for 2023. This is in spite of concerted efforts by homeroom educators to collect the outstanding books. To put it in a nutshell, we have an immediate shortage even though parents were issued with letters indicating which books were still outstanding and who of their children have not returned all or some of their books,” Mr George said in his principal’s newsletter.

According to the WCED, the school decided to make use of stop orders to ensure that school fees would be collected more effectively compared to previous years.

“Learners who have not yet returned the textbooks issued to them last year were advised that the school would first give textbooks to those who returned all their books. Reduced income due to challenges with collecting school fees from parents forced the school to reduce their wage bill. These measures are not related to the massive R716.4 million blow to our education budget in the Western Cape. We appeal to parents to pay school fees, if they are in a position to do so. Any parent/guardian who is unable to pay their child’s school fees can apply for a fee exemption,” said WCED spokesperson Millicent Merton.