- What do parents often pay for in schools?
- Acceptable fees and illegal fees in the learning process - how to distinguish?
- How to arrange paid services
- How to track where voluntary contributions from parents go?
- A fact of extortion was discovered - what to do and where to complain?
The question with requisitions is very relevant for Russian schools: parents are well aware of contributions and can confirm that their number and size is growing every year. Where in fact the collected funds go and how legal it is - SMAPSE experts will deal with these issues in this article.
What do parents often pay for in schools?
Parents of first-graders become popular objects for additional fees in Russian schools - they are not familiar with the accounting work scheme in educational institutions, therefore they are often inclined to take on trust the list of services for which “you have to” pay:
- School entrance fee;
- Admission Fee;
- School uniform;
- Textbook set;
- Class fund contribution;
- First class entry;
- Classroom equipment (new desks, study guides on the wall, media equipment).
When moving to the second grade and subsequent grades, the list of “required” expenses for students and parents does not disappear. It can be varied, but most of the Russian institutions of secondary education (or pre-school) often raise money for the following services:
- Repair or cleaning of the school. By law, funds for school services on behalf of parents are allocated only on a voluntary basis. All other cases are illegal.
- School uniform. An educational institution does not have the right to oblige parents to acquire uniforms: the school has the right to only indicate the regulation by type of clothing (for example, shirt-pants, blouse-skirt).
- Security or nurse services. On these issues, schools conclude contracts with security organizations, which must be paid from the school budget. Fundraising “for protection” is illegal. As a medical service, security is financed by the budget of the institution.
- Teaching aids. The school administration is obliged to provide textbooks for students - the budgetary expenditures are strictly based on the number of students. Additional textbooks are only purchased with the consent of the parents or the board of trustees. Similar issues are traditionally discussed at parent meetings.
- Excursions. The decision to let the child go on an excursion is entirely up to the parents, however, the presence or absence of one of the students should not affect the educational process.
- Meals (breakfast and lunch). The scheme is similar to textbooks: students should eat according to the standard for the funds of the educational institution without additional contributions from parents. Of course, no one forbids the issuance of pocket money to students - with parental funds, students can buy a snack, spend the allocated amount on something else.
- Additional activities with students. Such lessons are provided on a paid basis subject to 2 conditions: first, with the consent of the parents, and secondly, if attending additional classes is not included in the state program and will not threaten students with lower grades if they refuse.
Acceptable fees and illegal fees in the learning process - how to distinguish?
Above SMPSE experts named the most popular collections of Russian schools, but are they considered legal? By law, schools of secondary or pre-school education are required to publish a list of free and paid services on their sites - on the official website or in the directorate of the institution directly. Then, attentive parents who have familiarized themselves with both lists in advance will be able to track the illegal actions of the school or kindergarten management in assigning paid services that are legally free.
Unfortunately, for the country this is a familiar interaction scheme - to use the ignorance of consumers of services (in this case, students with parents), therefore there are the very contributions and fundraising that have been bewildering and well-grounded protest of parents for years. There is a legal way out of this situation - SMAPSE experts will describe it in detail for all interested parties.
So, here is a list of educational services, according to which, according to the official law (Federal Law No. 273 “On Education in the Russian Federation”), schools can NOT raise funds from parents:
- Acquisition of textbooks
- Admission to first grade
- Repair or cleaning of the school premises
- The purchase of furniture for classrooms or other equipment (computers, etc.)
- Landscaping (purchase of seedlings)
- Standard Academic Lessons
- Salary for staff (cleaning staff or security guards)
- Buying toys for preschools.
This is a standard list of state funded services. And there are additional services that, if necessary, can be paid by parents, and this will not contradict the law (article No. 45 of the law "On Education"):
- Teaching and learning additional disciplines. If the course is not provided for by the curriculum standards - it is paid separately
- Compounded disciplines. This includes tutoring: then the fee is set by agreement with parents, or the school charter contains the relevant regulations (if additional classes are held under an official contract with the employer)
- Teaching services for the special development of students. For example, these are additional drawing or music lessons - parents are willing to pay for these classes if the child has a predisposition
- Other services not included in the list of state standards.
The list of paid services for educational institutions may vary, but in any case it should be available openly.
How to arrange paid services
In order for your child to study in additional courses or take part in an extension, it does not fall under the definition of “illegal”, SMAPSE specialists recommend that parents conclude agreements with an educational institution for all types of services of this format. Then, in exchange for making money, school accounting will register the payment, handing over the appropriate check to the parents. An individual agreement must be signed with each students' representatives, where a detailed list of services with a price is indicated. If any discontent arises, it is this agreement that will be valid when applying to a court or prosecutor's office.
IMPORTANT: If, at the time of admission to school, parents are asked to write a receipt on the voluntary payment of additional educational services - refuse! It's illegal!
How to track where voluntary contributions from parents go?
So, if you are a decent Russian citizen and want to openly make a voluntary donation to the school’s fund, this is not prohibited by law (article No. 41 of the “Law on the Education of the Russian Federation”), and even vice versa.
This type of financial support can be issued in accordance with Article 7.1 of Federal Law dated 11.08.1995 No. 135-ФЗ “On Charitable Activities and Charitable Organizations” - the fact of transferring funds is supported by a civil law agreement on the gratuitous performance of work by the volunteer and / or the provision of services for the benefit of the beneficiary. An agreement is made between the volunteer and the recipient.
The structure of the school hierarchy, such as the Parents' Committee or the Board of Trustees, will help track where the money allocated by parents went. According to the law, these organizations are also authorized to amend the school charter - for example, to regulate the list of additional educational services. Sometimes the committee has the opportunity to influence the list of compulsory services, but more often than not, the state standard applies here.
If no educational institution has any structures, the representative of the school administration should be in control of the targeted spending of funds.
The structure of the appeal was sorted out - in all these cases, parents of students can fill out a request through school bookkeeping for a copy of a document on a one-time deposit of specific funds allocated by parents on a voluntary basis. Also, upon request, accounting is required to provide an estimate of the costs of voluntary donations. Ideally, all this documentation must be publicly available: on the website of the educational institution or in social networks, which are now actively involved in covering the life of educational institutions.
In case of problems, contact the law enforcement authorities. In addition, parents of students can solve this and similar questions through the Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights of Educational Services.
A fact of extortion was discovered - what to do and where to complain?
Now it’s hard to surprise someone with the situation of contributions - this is a “normal” practice for more than a dozen years. But if your child’s school also has such a situation, and you want to defend your right to free education, which is required by law, a step-by-step scheme of actions is proposed for you.
Step 1. Turn to the management of the school or kindergarten with the question on what basis are the fees. Be sure to ask for the answer in writing - the document will come in handy when it comes to the higher authorities.
Then 2 possible scenarios are possible: peaceful, where the directorate removes the need for various contributions. The second option - the request is ignored by the director of the institution. Then you can safely proceed to the next stage.
Step 2 Appeal to one of the profile structures:
- Municipal (or regional) education committee
- Economic Crime Unit
- Prosecutor's office
- Ministry of Education.
Step 3. If you are afraid that the complaint will affect your child, indicate the requirement of non-disclosure of data in the document.
The law provides for punishment for unauthorized fundraising, so it is likely that the above steps will be enough to get a positive effect. If not, SMAPSE experts recommend that you prepare for further action already with a lawyer.
So that parents can still cope with this situation on their own, SMAPSE experts will familiarize you with the fines that are imposed on employees of educational institutions involved in violations:
- Restraint of liberty or forced labor for up to 4 years
- Six months arrest
- Cash collection of up to 80 thousand rubles.
Parents should not turn a blind eye to requisitions in schools or kindergartens - such advice is given by authorities. If there is such a problem in the institution where your child is studying - act!