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Paying parents to sit on school boards

By johnboy - 5 May 2009 35

The Canberra Times brings word that Andrew Barr is considering paying parents encourage them to get involved with school boards.

    He said he was ”not suggesting directors’ fees a la company board of management, but it might be worth considering tying in some money to make a broader range of parents participate and to recognise that there is often a cost to giving up time for volunteering such as having to get alternative child care.”Schools would need to fund honorariums from within their own budgets as allocated under school- based management.

Anyone care to elaborate as to what it is school boards actually do?

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Paying parents to sit on school boards
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canberra bureaucrat 10:08 pm 06 May 09

ok mono, I have checked the facts and I grant you that I was a bit unfair, it is certainly not just a consultative committee ( But if you read sections 38 and and 39 of the Act you will see the word “recommend” appear many times (recommend = influence, but not formal power). I note in particular 39(4) which says that the authority does not have to do what the Board recommends. So to be clearer, they do not have the powers of a Board in the Corporations law (Cth) or Incorporation law (ACT) sense of the word.

Also I said “…they don’t sound like…”, by which I should have been clearer and stated “based only on the information in this post”.

monomania 1:09 pm 06 May 09

canberra bureaucrat said :

I am not familiar with the public school system boards (yet), but they don’t sound like a board in reality. Boards make decisions on governance and policy. They DIRECT and organisation. What you are referring to is a consultative committee (by whatever name it might be given). A consultative committee has no power to decide anything, except perhaps when to meet, and what to ‘recommend’ to the school.

You are right. You don’t know what you are talking about. You are wrong. The board has the power to make significant binding decisions concerning the operation of the school.

deezagood 7:37 am 06 May 09

Very true Granny, very true. It is busy busy times for all families and I suspect the guilt factor is increasing as families struggle to meet the demands for their time. I know that I would like to do more (and I do heaps!), but simply can’t. We also find that it is the same people that do the volunteering for everything.

Granny 5:43 am 06 May 09

There’s also a great Australian tradition of kids playing out on the front lawn under a sprinkler, but times can change even if people don’t want them to. There are a huge number of expectations and pressures on families.

I’m not saying people couldn’t or shouldn’t volunteer, but it’s not a lot different from the discussion about school canteens being run by the P&C. With most families today double income, many parents simply can’t volunteer for school canteen duty during the day or school board duty at night.

A lot of the domestic and organisational family tasks that were once able to be performed during the day must now wait till evening or weekends.

Add to that the community expectations that children will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of extra-curricular activities and the fear of letting children go out by themselves, and you have a recipe for a very busy family.

I-filed 10:14 pm 05 May 09

So much for the much-touted great Australian tradition of voluntarism …

canberra bureaucrat 8:32 pm 05 May 09

I am not familiar with the public school system boards (yet), but they don’t sound like a board in reality. Boards make decisions on governance and policy. They DIRECT and organisation. What you are referring to is a consultative committee (by whatever name it might be given). A consultative committee has no power to decide anything, except perhaps when to meet, and what to ‘recommend’ to the school. They get told what to do (i.e. “implement policy as directed by the Department and consult with the P&C on actions that will benefit the school etc”). People on real boards are legally accountable for the organisations they direct. In the case of public schools, government employees/Ministers have that accountability.

Not that I have a problem with that of course. They are very worthwhile things to be involved in.

I agree with many comments above. VYBerlina is spot on about the real issue: “The real question that needs to be asked is why parents don’t want to sit on boards now.”

This is an issue with voluntary organisations generally. I think it’s mostly to do with time (parents are very time poor).

deezagood 7:02 pm 05 May 09

Our school must be a bit unusual … we had lots of people competing for school board positions this year and we actually had to vote!

monomania 7:01 pm 05 May 09

I have nothing against paying people for the work they do. School boards are part of the administration structure of the public education system. Some people are elected to represent the view of the community on the management of the school. They don’t necessarily have to be parents. I would not be against the payment of teacher or student reps either. So what if the pay is an incentive as long as a honest effort is made to do the job well. Motivations that exist for community members and teachers are not always selfless. Looks good on the CV. A component of community involvement.

taninaus 6:57 pm 05 May 09

I think you are thinking fine Granny! 🙂

Granny 5:49 pm 05 May 09

Oh sorry! God, I’m not thinking. Sorry.

Granny 5:48 pm 05 May 09

I think as people become more time poor it is harder to get them involved, as not-for-profit groups are also crying out for voluntary board members. I agree with many of the concerns expressed here to some degree, although would have no problem seeing our two wonderful board reps remunerated. They would do it regardless, and it’s probably just a token in any case. I actually feel that if your child’s future doesn’t motivate you then a financial incentive won’t either unless it was sufficiently large to result in the sorts of problems Mike outlined.

grunge_hippy 5:39 pm 05 May 09

good. then they can start paying teachers overtime for all the stuff they do after school hours, including sitting on the board. Having sat on various school boards as a teacher, they are the most boring thing you can possibly do with your time after a full day of work. They are token anyway really… as someone said before, the dept doesnt listen, it does its own thing.

Pommy bastard 2:38 pm 05 May 09

If you pay people, you will attract the sort of person who would only do the work for payment. Exactly the wrong sort if person to do it.

peterh 1:45 pm 05 May 09

Thumper said :

I agree with thumper. If anyone should get paid, it is the emergency services volunteers.

You missed my point Peter. In my opinion volunteer emergency services workers should not get paid.

And neither should school parent bodies.

we will have to disagree thumper, i consider the work that the emergency services volunteers to be on par with the work that the ADF reserves do.

peterh 1:42 pm 05 May 09

if the act dept of education actually cared what we thought, the consultation about the school closures would have had merit. But they did their own thing.

The P&C should be there to represent the children. not the dept of ed or for any monetary reimbursement.

do you get paid to take your kids to a soccer match on a saturday morning at 6.30am?

P&C is a voluntary organisation. you have the chance to make your voice heard, but money should be kept out of it…

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