Friday, October 30, 2015 - 09:09
Parents angered by high cost of school lunch care
An increasing number of parents are annoyed about the high charges schools demand to look after their kids during lunchtime after the implementation of the so-called continuous timetable. This timetable, which does not allow kids to go home for lunch, is already implemented at about half of primary schools. With a continuous timetable kids eat the lunch they brought from home in the classroom and then play outside. They no longer go home for lunch. Some schools hire in extra staff to look after the kids during this time, so that the teachers can also get a break, according to newspaper AD. Other schools depend on volunteers. This costs extra money, that the schools bill to the parents. But parents are reluctant to pay, because according to the law, it is a voluntary contribution. Parent organization Ouders & Onderwijs, Parents & Education in English, is getting an increasing number of complaints about this charge. Over the past few weeks the organization received dozens of complaints about as many schools, Kaja Sariwating said to the newspaper. According to the organization, many schools neglect to mention that the payment is voluntary. "We do nt write that the contribution is voluntary, nor that it is compulsory", Reina Atteveld, director of the Sint Jozefschool in Amsterdam said to AD. "I would be sorry if the trend becomes: oh, the contribution is voluntary, never mind then. Then we will not be able to keep offering care with pedagogical staff." "We say that there are costs, were not going to put in bold letters that it is voluntary. Parents should be aware themselves", Tabe Sneijer, director of De Zevensprong in Oud-Beijerland, said to the newspaper. The school charges a hundred euros a year to cover the child care organization that takes care of the school's pupils over lunch. "If parents have difficulty paying, they can come in for a discussion and we will find a solution. It involves thee or four euros per week. Often the problem lies with the parent's payment discipline." Schools are calling on State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education to change to rules so that the contribution for the continuous timetable can be mandatory. But for now he has no plans to change the law. His spokesperson told the AD that schools must offer a reasonable alternative if parents are unable or refuse to pay the contribution, such as allowing the child to go home for lunch.