Attendance Dues and Policy One Monies

For many proprietors the only two sources of income is the money that is recieved by the Ministry of Education (Policy One) and money recieved through Attendance Dues.  It is therefore important to have a sound understanding of what the money recieved is lawfully able to be used for.  Surprisingly this information is not easy to come by.

Such guidelines are clarified in three documents,

  1. the Association of Proprietors of Integrated Schools, memo on Policy One money.  Interestingly through much research I have not been able to get any information directly from the Ministries resources.  Infact, this document is the document that is linked from the MOE website.
  2. Private Schools Conditional Integration Act - Attendance Dues and more
  3. Attendance Dues Review Guidance 2012 - Clarity provided by the MoE in response to the in light of the High Court's recent declaratory judgment inregards to the lawful use of Attendance Dues

Why is it important to get this right?

Should any proprietor use any revenue from attendance dues for any purpose other than one permitted by this section, the Minister may, notwithstanding anything in the integration agreement, by notice in the Gazette, withdraw the right to charge attendance dues, and the controlling authority shall thereafter, while the withdrawal continues, be required to permit the attendance of children without the payment of attendance dues. The Minister may at any time, by notice in the Gazette, cancel any such withdrawal.

Document Summaries:

Association Of Proprietors Of Integrated Schools – In the absence of anything clearer in writing from the Ministry APIS released this document.  It is now the only document on the Ministry Website to define Policy One Funding use.  Main points, Policy One monies is to be used for the primary purpose of maintaining the school (4.1) once maintenance is complete the balance of the funding may be used for the school's capital works (4.2.1) or maintenance, capital works or other purposes directly related to any other integrated school (4.2.2).  The government does not routinely audit Policy One Monies but this document clearly outlines the requirements should an audit be requested.  It recommends the Proprietor require their auditor to complete an annual audit with regard to the outlined requirements.

Private Schools Conditional Integration Act – This is the act the Ministry uses when it enters into a contract with a Proprietor.  Of greatest relevance to the conversation about Attendance Dues in Section 6.  In particular paragraph outlines the sole usage of attendance dues; defined as, improvements to the school buildings, capital works required by the Minister and for the paying of debts/mortgages/other charges associated with the land and buildings that constitute the premises of the school.  Also of importance is paragraph 5 which outlines the Secretary of Educations ability to withdraw the right to charge attendance dues if Attendance Dues are used in  a manner contrary to those expressed in the act.  In such an event the school is required to continue providing education for their students.

Attendance Dues Review Guidance 2012 – After the lengthy hearing between the Ministry and APIS the Ministry released a document to clarify the now agreed upon Lawful (and some Unlawful) uses of attendance dues monies.  Lawful uses include; attendance dues administration, building projects, lease payments, building warrants of fitness and debt servicing; all in regards to the land and buildings as integrated for the Ministry.
The document also outlines some examples of Unlawful Uses of Attendance Dues.  This includes, hostels, Chapels, Building new schools/acquiring land (non integrated), cost of proprietorship and building/renovating to a standard that exceeds the State school standard.  

As integrated schools we need to stay in a favourable position with the MoE for the likes of roll increases and potential policy two money in the future in order to fulfil proprietors vision. 

I you require further advice in regards to the aformentioned subject please contact the Association of Proprietors of Christian Schools, Association of Intgrated Schools or another proprietors group such as the New Zealand Christian Proprietors Trust.

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