‘Schools need lower municipal tariffs’

2014-11-28 14:33

The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools wants the government to set special tariffs for schools for water, electricity and refuse removal.

The federation polled more than 500 schools across the country to determine the cost of education at public schools.

It found that the department of education’s subsidy to the average public school is not enough to even cover municipal services.

The research, which was unveiled at a press briefing in Johannesburg today, shows that the government subsidy to the average high school is about 6.3% of the school’s total budget. But schools spend about 5% of their total budget on municipal services.

“The federation is urgently calling on the government to determine a special tariff for schools because schools simply cannot afford business tariffs,” the federation’s deputy chief executive, Jaco Deacon, said.

Deacon said there was a misconception that schools charged excessive tuition fees.

“However, these numbers paint a different picture. According to our analysis, on average, about 68% of a public high school’s budget is swallowed by exemption of school fees, nonpayment of fees, municipal costs and the costs of teachers appointed by school governing bodies,” Deacon said.

He said providing enough staff was the primary reason most schools struggled to keep their heads above water, and added that research showed that 30% of public school teachers’ salaries were paid by school governing bodies.

“These are not additional posts. They are essential posts which are not paid for by the education department. When we look at administrative and support staff, this number increases to 57%.”

The federation will now use its research to compile a budgeting guide for its members.

“This guide will attach acceptable limits to certain components of a budget so that schools can benchmark their own budgets. This information enables the federation to negotiate with the minister of basic education and other role players.”

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