Johannesburg - Parkdene Primary School sent letters to parents last year instructing them to pay a re-registration fee of R400, or their children will not have space at the school.

The letter also states that the fee was compulsory and would be used to purchase stationery for pupils at the Boksburg school this year.

On Wednesday, Gauteng Department of Education spokesman Charles Phahlane said this was against policy and that officials would be sent to the school on Thursday to investigate.

“That is an illegal process and a contravention of the legislative framework. The department will send officials to the school tomorrow (Thursday) to investigate the matter and the outcome will determine the action to be taken,” he said.

The letter has outraged parents, who have accused the school of ripping them off.

The letter, signed by principal G Jordaan in May, reads: “Please note that when completing re-registration forms you committed yourself to paying the R400.00 within certain time frame (sic). Please ensure that these monies are paid timeously.”

On June 5, parents received another letter, stating: “Re-registration, this form was provided to all Grade 1 and 6 learners on 21 May 2012. Please note that if we have not received the form, we will assume that your child is leaving and will allocate the space to another child.

“Your child will receive a transfer card with the end of the year report. If you have not returned this form completed this must be returned as soon as possible. (sic)”

Phahlane said pupils were not supposed to pay re-registration fees to ensure that they have space at the school the following year.

Another letter from the school stated: “This fee is compulsory and will be used to purchase your child’s 2013 stationery packs (including all books and sundries).”

When The Star contacted Jordaan for comment, he referred all questions to the school’s lawyer, Stefan Wolmarans.

He said: “It is the school, with the support of the governing body, that asked the parents to pay the re-registration fee. They were asked to pay, because it is their learners’ stationery for 2013. Also take note that the governing body decides how the stationery will be bought and from whom.”

But several parents said they were not happy with the stationery they received.

“I went to (a shop) to calculate how much the stationery my son received cost. It came to about R195,” she said.

A parent, who did not want to be identified, said that after receiving the letter stating that pupils who had not paid would be issued with transfer cards at the end of the year, she decided to pay R800 for her two children.

“I did not want my children to sit at home because I refused to pay the re-registration fees.

“But I want to know if the department has given this school an instruction to demand R400 re-registration fee from us,” she said.

A parent who did not pay the re-registration fees claimed the principal told her son to tell his parents to look for an alternative school.

“When I asked the principal why he was saying we must put my son in a different school, he said he thought we were taking the child out of the school because I had not paid the R400,” she said.

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The Star