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Govt cuts force Catholic schools to charge extra for development

Parents of Catholic school students in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese are expected to face $300 annual building levy fees from next year.

The diocese will use the total $3 million a year to reduce debt on existing primary and secondary school buildings and maintain, upgrade and build new ones.

The proposed fee will be compulsory and additional to school fees and other levies such as cleaning and book fees. It will replace a voluntary tax-deductible building contribution scheme that has operated since 1996.

Catholic Schools Office Director Mr Michael Bowman blamed the proposed levy on reductions in Federal Government grants and the need to meet increasing demand for better building standards to provide for growth at all schools.

The plan is supported by the diocese's Federation of Parents and Friends (P&F).

P&F vice-president Ms Helen Kearney said: "You can't continually upgrade and improve schools to provide quality education without money."

Catholic Schools Office

Newcastle Herald