Mae’s School not reviewing substantial fees hike

Fees protest: Parents of children at the Mae’s school in Subryanville protesting over proposed fee hikes.

Some parents with children attending the Mae’s School may now have to resort to looking at placement for their wards at other schools as the Director of the School refuses to review the decision to increase tuition fees.

Back in April, parents of children at the Playgroup, Nursery and Primary levels of Mae’s said they were informed via notices, which were received just before school closed for Easter, that school fees for the Christmas Term will be increased by up to 42% depending on the Grade.

At the time, the parents said they formed themselves into a group of concerned parents and had written a formal letter to the Administrator of the school, Stacey French, asking for justification for the increase, in light of the removal of VAT on private education.

French’s response was that their costs of doing business have increased, as well as the challenge of hiring teachers who are both motivated and experienced, in addition to overall operational costs. However, the parents say there was no mention of the direct improvement to the school’s existing facilities, such as poor ventilation and washroom facilities.

This resulted in some parents voicing their concerns through several days of protest in front of the school.

It was noted that while parents are not against raising the price of fees, they believe the increase should be “reasonable and in keeping with the state of our economy.”

Sunday Stabroek was told by one parent, Andrea Bryan- Garner that a final letter was sent to Stacy French requesting a meeting, however, it was ignored. The parents also signed a petition and submitted it to the Ministry of Education’s Chief Education Officer, for their next meeting with the school’s administration.

But even with the efforts of the parents to engage the school’s administration, they have already received a second notice of the increased tuition and payment deadline.

“A second notice was sent to parents to indicate if their child will be attending the school in Sept. If not submitted by April 30 your child’s space would not be guaranteed. Those new fees have to be paid by July 31,” the parent told this publication.

This notice has reportedly led some parents to look at the possibility of uprooting their children and enrolling them at other schools.

Bryan-Garner noted that option comes with challenges since other private schools often have long waiting lists for enrollment.

“The problem is other good private schools have long waiting lists, plus public school does not guarantee trained and experienced teachers. So, some parents’ feel their options are limited especially those already in the upper levels. To move might impact their child’s preparation for NGSA,” the distraught parent added.

“We understand it’s a free market where prices are set by the business. We tried to appeal to the conscience of the owners, but it appears they have none,” the woman lamented

Based on the initial letter of notice, parents with children in the Playgroup Category would have to pay a 42% increase with the fee moving from $35,000 per term to $50,000; parents with children in the Nursery Level would see a 33% increase, as fees move from $45,000 to $60,000.

Meanwhile, parents with students in Grades 1 to 4 will now have to pay $75,000, which is an increase of 25% from its previous figure of $60,000. Those with students in Grades 5 and 6 will face an increase from $70,000 to $80,000.

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