Nev Madsen

Student Resource Scheme could end up costing a packet

PARENTS looking to alleviate the pressures of buying school items for their children this year have found wildly varying fees from school to school.

An analysis of the Student Resources Scheme for some of Queensland's state schools has revealed as much as a $250 ­annual difference for parents to participate.

The scheme was introduced by the Queensland Government to give schools the ability to buy students' educational resources in bulk to save extra costs for parents.

However, the participation fee for many parents of state school students has been found to vary from $160 at Rockhampton State High to $425 for parents with children at Merrimac State High School.

P&Cs Queensland has defended the costs, claiming the scheme is dependent on enrolment numbers and resource availability.

The Student Resources Scheme was introduced to give schools the ability to buy in bulk and pass the savings to parents.

"It does vary from school to school, which it should," P&C chief executive Kevan Goodworth said. "Each school has a different number of students or (is) in a different area. We hope school principals are having a good discussion with their school community and P&C before coming up with the figure."

Merrimac State High School charges parents $425 a year to participate in the scheme; however neighbouring high school Miami State High charges only $380.

Bremer State High School in Ipswich lists its 2017 SRS annual fee at $250, while Maroochydore State High School's is at $202.

The state education department said the participation fee is to be "defensible and reasonable" and supported with documentation.

A Department of Education and Training spokesman said fees are decided by each school, in consultation with its local P & C association.

"As per the department's Student Resource Scheme procedure, participation in a scheme is voluntary, and parents may choose whether or not to participate," he said.

"Schools are required to provide parents with information about the resources provided within their scheme and the annual participation fee to enable parents to make an informed decision about whether to access the resources through the scheme or through another source."

News Corp Australia

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