December 6, 2023

Voluntary school contributions heaping ‘unfair pressure’ on Kilkenny families

A Kilkenny TD has called on the Government to “take action” against voluntary school contributions which are placing unfair pressure on local families’ finances.

Deputy Kathleen Funchion was speaking as the Dáil debatd the Education (Voluntary Contributions) Bill 2021, which she said would “prevent families being singled out for not being able to meet these often crippling costs”.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said: “With the rising cost of living, parents are worrying about how they will meet the costs of the return to school this summer. One major cost that puts huge pressure on families is the school voluntary contribution.

“Year on year, families are being crippled by requests for contributions of very often well over €100 or €200 per child, and even as much as €300-400 in some cases. Every year I am contacted by many parents in Carlow and Kilkenny who are very anxious about covering these costs.

“These are huge sums for families to be expected to pull together – particularly at the same time as the rising costs of energy, fuel, groceries all put a serious strain on families’ finances.

“We know that in reality, these contributions are voluntary in name only. In some instances, students and families can be denied certain services and extra-curricular activities and they can face stigma.”

Deputy Funchion (pictured below) accused the Government of “consistently underfunding our schools”, to the extent they feel they have to fundraise just to cover the basics.

“It has to end,” she said, adding:  “I am calling on all TDs in Carlow Kilkenny to do the right thing and support our Bill … these unfair voluntary contributions must stop.


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