Private schools are going to extreme measures to make sure they get paid.
Rachel Rodda is a single mother on a low income. Now, she’s allegedly facing bankruptcy at the hands of her son’s former school.
Ms Rodda says she sent her son to Victoria’s prestigious Eltham College because she didn’t think the public schools in her area were up to scratch.
“I wasn’t happy with the government schools, I wasn’t zoned for one I would send my son to, I was trying to find the most suitable place for his education,” she told The Age. “I didn’t want my child to have a second-rate start.”
She claims the school never requested to see her financial documents — but said she was honest with them about not being able to pay the fees up front.
However, when Ms Rodda later removed her child from the school, Eltham College allegedly sought to bankrupt her, demanding she pay more than $12,500 in fees.
According to Fairfax Media, the total sum requested by the private school includes unpaid fees, as well as an added fine of $6,000 for withdrawing her child from school without sufficient notice.
While debt mediator Ben Paris told Mamamia he’s never heard of this ‘drop-out fee,’ he said he commonly deals with clients facing bankruptcy, who can’t afford their child’s school fees.
“You have people making reasonable money, and they are spending a little bit more than they earn. Then something happens, [for example] someone has to change to a lower-earning job, and they don’t want to take their kids out of their school, but they can no longer afford it,” he explained to Mamamia.
“It’s like they say: Bankruptcy happens really slowly, then all of a sudden.”