Parents Voice in Government School Education

Parent levies – PV media comment

An article in today’s Age reveals the extra pressure on public school budgets caused by a drop in parent contributions. That pressure has only got worse since 2021 when the State Government forced public schools to be very clear with parents that levies are voluntary, not mandatory. 

According to the article:

Public schools are losing millions in parent payments since a state government crackdown on mandatory fees in 2021, leaving principals struggling to fund shortfalls for basic requirements, including extra staff, maintenance and even heating.
Exclusive figures obtained by The Age under freedom of information laws show the net amount Victorian public schools earned from voluntary parent contributions dropped by $35 million between 2020 and 2022.

Parents Victoria CEO Gail McHardy is quoted in the article:

Gail McHardy from Parents Victoria said the drop in parent payments affected each school differently but she had heard of facility upgrades and specialised programs being impacted or removed.
McHardy said cost of living pressures had affected how much parents were contributing to schools. She said the current school funding model was unfair, “appalling and must change”.

Gail also made the following comments to the Age, which were not included in the article:

  • Public schools should not have to rely on “locally raised contributions” from parents and carers to make up the shortfall in government funding for public education.
  • The drop in parent contributions is definitely impacting schools but this is not the fault of the families nor the schools, they are the victims of the current school funding model.
  • Levies were never mandatory, the terminology changed from voluntary contributions to parent payments. The policy was updated to be more transparent on the State Government expectations by the Department of Education on how schools communicate with families on school costs.


See our school funding campaign page – now is the time to tell the politicians to fund schools properly, so they don’t have to rely on parent levies for basic expenses.

Read the ‘Age’ article (subscription only)

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