When school starts, so do the requests for additional, often substantial payments. How much money is your child’s school really allowed to ask (or demand) of you?
This post has been superceded by a newer post: School fees: What should you be paying for 2012-2013 (תשע”ג)?
Types of payments
According to the Israeli Ministry of Education, there are three types of payments. Each kind comes with a different level of obligation and a different consequence if not paid.
- Mandatory payments (תשלום חובה / tashlum chova)
- As the name indicates, these are obligatory.
- Personal accident insurance for each child falls in this category.
- Voluntary payments (תשלומי רשות / tashlumei reshut)
- The scope of these is determined each year by the Knesset Education Committee in coordination with the National Parents Council (ועד ההורים הארצי / Vad HaHorim HaArtzi).
- Voluntary payments cover a specific basket of educational and cultural services to which schools may request that parents contribute.
- The maximum amount of money that can be requested is defined as well.
- If the parent declines to pay the requested sum, alternative 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 place during school hours, all students must be allowed to participate whether their parents paid or not.
If you are asked for money, it is your right to request a written description of the costs including which are mandatory and which are voluntary.
Amount of payments
Each year, the Knesset Education Committee approves the maximum amount of mandatory (תשלום חובה) and voluntary payments (תשלומי רשות) which can be required of parents, including a breakdown for the maximum cost per category. The Knesset Education Committee approved the list of mandatory and voluntary payments for 2010 – 2011 (תשע”ב) on 5 July 2011.
The table has a column for bands of grades and includes a description of how much can be charged for each type of item. For example, a first grader could be requested to pay as much as 541 NIS per year in mandatory (תשלום חובה) and voluntary payments (תשלומי רשות), of which 101 NIS is to cover a one-day trip, 24 NIS is to cover a class party, etc.
Of course, investing in your children’s education is wonderful! But, that doesn’t always mean spending more money, and it’s always good to know what your rights are in case you need to exercise them.