As parent meetings begin, learn the legal limits to what schools and parent committees can request for parental payments (tashlumei horim) for the 2014 – 2015 school year.
Types of payments
How much you have to pay in total parental payments (תשלומי הורים / tashlumei horim) comes from a number of different payment types with different statuses.
- Mandatory payment (תשלום חובה / tashlum chova): This covers personal accident insurance (ביטוח תאונות אישיות / bituach teunot ishiyot).
- Voluntary payments (תשלומי רשות / tashlumei reshut):
- These include items such as trips (טיולים / tiyulim), parties, and book lending programs (השאלת ספרים / hashalat sfarim).
- The maximum amount of money that can be requested is defined, including maximums for each type of expenditure.
- If the parent declines to pay the requested sum, alternate activities must be provided for the child.
- Voluntary purchases of services (רכישת שירותים מרצון / rechishat sherutim meratzon)
- These are completely voluntary as they fall outside of the boundary of the above two categories.
- Examples of these include chugim, internet services, food, school newspaper, and external educational services.
- If the activities take place outside of school hours, there is no need to include students whose parents did not pay. If the activities take place during school hours, all students must be allowed to participate whether their parents paid or not.
- Supplemental learning program (תל”ן /tal”an): Such a program is voluntary as well. If the activities take place during school hours, students whose parents did not pay must be allowed to participate in the supplemental learning program or in alternate educational activities.
If you are unsure about what you are being asked to pay for, it is your right to request a written description of the costs including which are mandatory and which are voluntary.
2014-2015 (תשע”ה) Payments
On 22 July 2014, the Knesset Education Committee approved the schedule of parental payments for the 2014 – 2015 school year. These amounts represent the maximum parents can be asked to pay per child.
Details are available for the breakdown of each of the payment for torani students. There are also a few exceptions for regular students (e.g., if your school is south of the line between the Sde Boker Junction and the HaArava Junction, an extra 290 NIS can be added for a trip).
But, I’m being overcharged!
Despite all the money you can be legally asked to lay out for “free” education, some schools may demand more than they are legally entitled to demand. If you’re being overcharged, turns out you’re in good company. According to a Knesset report, during the 2009 – 2010 school year 51% of schools demanded payments in excess of the legal limits.
If you need or want to safeguard your wallet and the school isn’t interested in listening to your request to pay only up to the legal maximum, there is a place you can turn to short of hiring a lawyer. The Ministry of Education has a designated person in each district to refer to for questions and clarifications regarding parental payments. However, given the epidemic of overcharging, your best bet is likely to band together with other parents to keep costs in check.
There may be additional payments that are not mentioned here, but the above is a good guide to the basics. Of course, you can always voluntarily make a donation to the Parents’ Committee (ועד הורים / va’ad horim) if you’ve got the cash and think it a worthy investment. Best of luck in the new school year!