AIBU to be angry that school expects parents to raise £60k?

(75 Posts)

Our voluntary aided C of England school had built two new classrooms to replace old leaky Portacabins. Important and necessary building work, granted, and we were all pleased that it went ahead. But now, after the fact, we're being told that there's £60k still outstanding and we the parents are expected to raise it.

So AIBU to think this is a bit much to ask? Suggestions are being made that we should ask family and friends to sponsor us for marathons etc. But in this economic climate, I wouldn't fee comfortable asking people to part with money for something as trivial as a school building projects.

webwiz Sat 23-Mar-13 17:12:32

Yes but if you need major capital expenditure the school just won't ever have the required 10% hanging around. Money is allocated through a bidding process, if you win the bid you have to commit to the project or the money will go to another school. So yes its on top of what is usually required and the school will probably expect it to take a long time to repay the shortfall back to the diocese.

LineRunnyEgg Sat 23-Mar-13 17:12:34

But the school of 300 primary age children hasn't blown £600k on 2 new classrooms?

(If it has, it's (a) financially incompetent, (b) operating outside of all known governance and capital funding rules, and (c) needs reporting to the Audit Commission.)

I did think that £600k would be one helluva lot for 2 new classrooms. Apparently there are toilets too but still!! smile

Perhaps the fundraising committee (we don't have a PTA as such) have simply taken it on themselves to try to recover as much of this additional cost as possible (however it came about) to help the school pay off the debt. I don't know.

wannaBe Sat 23-Mar-13 17:17:38

yes hope is spot on. they will have believed the funding was secured at the time the project was submitted so somewhere they haven't been given the funding they were promised (probably from the church).

Not saying the op is made up, but that this hasn't been communicated well from whom so ever decided too put it on facebook! hmm

But £60K is an awful lot of cake. grin

And having seen our shiny new OFSTED resport today, I can reveal that I was incorrect, there are only 252 pupils at the school.

(I am so outing myself to anyone from our school! blush)

mam29 Sat 23-Mar-13 17:23:14

Only voluntary aided faith schools have to raise the 10%.

I was pta on va rc primary quite a sucessful one but on good year in affluent area most we could hope to raise was 10k so 60k huge amount.

We also had remit on sort things we should be paying and think classrooms as in new building would be funded by grants , diocese and lea.

we funded computers, committed to new libary and did playequipment.

Im on preschool committee and trying to raise money to build new building and its been going on for years we no where near close to amount we need.

Im not denying shortfall needs to be funded.

but cant see how parents be expected to fund it or they all be leaving in droves.

they need a loan for 60k and fundraise each year but school cannot dictate to pta what they spend money on.

teachers used to give us crazy requests that we turned down.

LineRunnyEgg Sat 23-Mar-13 17:25:11

It's crazy. The school could have rented some nice new portacabins for a year whilst it sorted out its finances properly.

webwiz Sat 23-Mar-13 17:26:04

I think the new reception classroom at DS's school was around £150,000 and that wasn't a permanent building more of a portacabin with a brick outer shell. The LEA wouldn't fund a proper building as it was too expensive.

Sassparilla Sat 23-Mar-13 17:33:30

As a voluntary aided school it is actually the Governing Body who need to raise the 10% of the devolved formula capital and not the PTA. PTA monies raised should be spent on the 'nice to haves' for the studennts and not the fabric of the school.

LineRunnyEgg Sat 23-Mar-13 17:36:46

Indeed, there is something not quite right here and I would suggest that you write to the Chair of Governors and ask the Governing Body to publish the accounts, Annie.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Mar-13 17:42:03

Someone has messed up here at some level. Either eg some funder has reneged or similar - or someone has done a 'What can they do once they're up and being used' (which is sadly all too common in public projects and then people rush around trying to sort the situation after dodgy declarations are made.) Ask to see a breakdown of the project costs and funding submissions - and maybe the accounts for the whole school and not just this project.

Don't pay a penny until you have those to hand.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 23-Mar-13 17:43:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 23-Mar-13 17:51:10

Whats so frustrating is so many grants and awards are not available retrospectively that you may have been able to apply for in advance.

On that note do you have a governor in charge of finance that could look at major exceptional items in the annual/ three year budget that could possibly be funded by grants instead diverting that money to the buildings work deficit. I.e. major IT investment, subsidy of before/ after school clubs, new schemes that are not on the standard curriculum?

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 23-Mar-13 17:52:41

Or alternatively its a levy of £1/ school week/ child for 6 years.

Well, at the moment it's just some folk (I don't even know if they're on the committee) saying "hey folks, the school owes lots of money for the new classrooms, what ideas do you have to raise it?"

I asked why the classrooms had been built if there wasn't enough money and didn't get an explanation beyond "it's not about debt, it's about the comfort of the children" and the bit about the Diocese stumping up most of the cash.

If they seriously start asking parents to pay, I'm sure I'll have to join a queue of folk asking for accounts and property explanations.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Mar-13 18:06:00

Then someone has raised the topic with them and moaned about the shortfall - probably implying future cuts which may have to be made to fund it. I would ask for the accounts now - or get a copy of the funding application from the funding body if you can. You might not be asked for anything immediately, but if someone has, without consultation, made a speculative application for capital funding and has now been caught with their pants down, you'll pay for it somewhere down the line.

As a former school governor, and one on the finance committee, we would have been hung, drawn and quartered for something like this.

You need to go and ask for the accounts for this project, and also ask to see the budget for running the school.

Capital projects like this should be part of the school's budget and not the responsibility of the PTA. There should be a record somewhere of things like quotes, detailed costings, etc. If there isn't then it's time to start asking serious questions and putting the governors on the spot.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Mar-13 18:12:49

Second that, FryOne.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Mar-13 18:14:26

PS - or if the bulk of the expenditure was not directly part of the school's budget but - say - part of some grant, any expected contribution by the school certainly should be.

Hulababy Sat 23-Mar-13 18:22:23

I doubt they can actually force parents to pay.

I work in an old cabin. They leak. They are really cold unless the heating is set to very high, therefore cost more to have. Ours have asbestos in the walls so we are not allowed to pin or staple anything to the walls. Ours are away from the main building so means children (Y2) have to go to main building unsupervised - for toilet visits, to go to office, to other rooms, etc. We send them in pairs but even so. They are mot a very pleasant environment.

Unfortunately though we can't afford to replace ours.

Bartlebee Sat 23-Mar-13 18:25:02

Our quite small primary (180 kids) recently raised over £50k towards a new playgroup building.

It took less than a year thanks to generous parents and tenacious PTA members.

LineRunnyEgg Sat 23-Mar-13 18:27:04

Good luck with that in the west end of Newcastle.

Our primary school would be lucky to raise £60 in less than 3-4 years, even in good times.

cozietoesie Sat 23-Mar-13 18:41:26

It's not the amount required or the ability of the school to fund raise that's the real issue here - it's the lack of consultation. It smells to me of someone (or a small group) taking a chance and losing. That's no way to run the finances of a school.

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