Summerfield Primary School’s School Governing Body chairperson, Dino Reddy, addressed concerned parents at a meeting on Thursday evening.
Durban - A CHATSWORTH school on the brink of bankruptcy, has been given a lifeline after the provincial education department adjusted its quintile ranking.

This comes after stakeholders at Summerfield Primary School, in Bayview, pleaded with the department to change their ranking from quintile 5 to 3.

However, the school was moved to a quintile 4 school following an assessment.

In a letter sent to the school on Friday, from the head of department, Dr Enoch Nzama, it said: “Based on the report from the on-site poverty reassessment of the geographic area of the school, your school is adjusted from quintile 5 to 4. The adjustment is with effect from 2019/20 financial year.”

The financial allocation to the school will change from R179 per child to R522.

The news came a day after a meeting between parents, School Governing Body (SGB) members and the community. The meeting addressed the school’s previous pleas for the provincial education department to reclassify them as a section 20 and quintile 3 school as opposed to their current quintile 5 and section 21 classification.

A section 20 school is managed and run by the government whereas a section 21 school is allocated a yearly allowance which must cover expenses such as lights and water.

The quintile system shows how much the school is allocated per child for the year. Quintile 5 being the best quality of school and quintile 1 being the least developed and more disadvantaged schools.

In a memorandum to Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane, the SGB stated their core problems and requested a change to their ranking.

The SGB cited the poverty levels of the community as a motivator behind the school’s reclassification.

Last month, during a demonstration outside the school, SGB members allegedly threatened to shut the school down if demands were not met. Dino Reddy, SGB chairperson, said their pleas had fallen on deaf ears until some good news came on Friday.

“The school is under crushing debt. We had urged the department to help us and have finally received R306 000 which was owed to us in our school bank account.

“Not every parent has the ability to pay the R500 annual school fees,” said Reddy.

He said they were pleased by the decision, adding that it has alleviated some financial pressure.

“Our monthly utility bills average around R15 000. When funds were available we could only afford paying R5000 per month.

“We have an outstanding bill of R330 000, which will be settled by the municipality once we become a Section 20 school,” he said.

Sunday Tribune