Version 4 – February 2010
The development of the Fee Policy at the Geelong Kindergarten Association is enabled (or governed) by the:
- Geelong Kindergarten Association Constitution
- GKA Privacy of Personal Information Policy
- Victorian Kindergarten Policy and Procedures and Funding Criteria 2009
- Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Kindergarten Fee Subsidy – Fees Policy
- GKA Complaint Management Policy
- Children’s Services Regulations 2009 – in particular Regulation 40 (1) (f), 41 (b)
This policy applies to all parents/guardians, staff and Committees of all Geelong Kindergarten Association Centres and may at times, involve the Office of Children.
||Geelong Kindergarten Association
||Subsidy is State Government funding paid to funded organisations to enable concession card holders to attend funded kindergarten at no cost (or minimal cost) for families meeting the eligibility criteria.
||A universal early childhood educational program, funded by the state government, for children in the year prior to commencing primary school.
||An unfunded program for three-year old children provided by an early childhood teacher or coordinator.
|Time of enrolment
||at the signing of the enrolment form.
||A payment that is refunded on participation in a specific activity, such as a working bee. Retained levies pay for replacing volunteer labour with paid labour/services.
|Special Purpose Levy
||A charge (included with the fee) used to accumulate funds over more that one budget period for a special purpose, for example playground redevelopment.
|Kindergarten Fee Deposit
||A charge to secure a place that has been offered in a program at the centre.
- Centres will abide by the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy – Fees Policy principles and guidelines at all times.
- The setting and collection of fees is the responsibility of the Committee in consultation with Geelong Kindergarten Association.
- Fees charged must comply with the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy – Fees Policy and be responsive to the local community and the viability of the service.
- Wherever possible the Committee must consider all operating and ancillary costs when calculating term fees. The Committee must be committed to making kindergarten affordable for all families and providing families with access to the full benefit of state and commonwealth subsidies.
- Costs relating to the kindergarten program are not to be funded as levies i.e. materials levy or excursions levies.
- Refundable levies and Special Purpose levies will only be introduced if necessary and in accordance with details in this policy.
- Refundable Levies may be introduced where the Committee identifies an opportunity to replace paid labour with voluntary labour. Payment will be refunded to parents/guardians on participation in specified activities. A range of specified activities will be offered to enable families with different time availability, skills and interests to access the refund. Consideration needs to be given to those families experiencing financial difficulties if a committee member is approached.
- Special Purpose Levies may be introduced to raise funds over a number of years for major expenditure, for example playground redevelopment. To comply with the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy – Fees Policy Guidelines eligible concession card holders will be encouraged, but will not be required, to pay the levy.
- Fundraising is used to pay for additional/expensive items while bringing together families and the wider community. Participation in fundraising is voluntary
- Collection of fees must be conducted in a fair and equitable manner.
- Committees are required to have in place and communicated to families, a comprehensive written fee agreement.
- By no later than the confirmation of an offer of a place, Committees must advise families of any amount charged for an enrolment/booking/holding fee or deposit The fee deposit is to be retained and as a part payment on Term 1 fees.
- At the time of enrolment, Committees must provide to all families;
- the written fee agreement; and
- the GKA Privacy and Disclosure Statement.
- Written Fee Agreement must contain the following items:
- Term and Annual Fees to be paid by each family.
- Description and application of any refundable and non-refundable levies
- Any charges or refundable deposits required to secure a place on a waiting list or to accept an offered place and their application against the fees/levies.
- Alternative fee arrangements.
- How the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy is applied and arrangements for eligible families to claim the subsidy.
- Parent notification of fee changes throughout the year
- Payment options, due dates and procedures.
- Option of Payment Plans for those families who experience difficulties in making fee payments within the requested time frame.
- Receipting arrangements.
- Action to be taken if fees are not paid.
- Contact Details for fee queries or if unable to pay on time.
- The application of fundraising
- Circumstances by which refunds of fees will be issued.
- Each GKA centre has the discretion to charge an additional, alternative or reduced fee in regard to any or none of the following:
- Twins, triplets or siblings;
- Lump sum payment of the full year's fees.
- Late Collection of children from the centre - Children Services Regulations 2009 states that their must be two staff members in attendance when there are children present. Therefore if children are not picked up on time staff need to be paid overtime. The committee reserves the right to implement a late collection of children charge when:
- The parent/guardian is between 15 and 30 minutes late in collecting their child/ren. The fees will be $5 for every ten minutes, or part thereof from the conclusion of the session.
- The parent/guardian is over 30 minutes late in collecting their child. The fee will be $5 for every ten minutes, or part thereof, for the first 30 minutes from the conclusion of the session and then $10 every 5 minutes or part thereof, after that.
- Children Turning Three during the year –
- Committees are able to charge full fees from the first day of Term 1 if a place is reserved for a child. Children can commence the program when they have turned three if there is a vacancy.
- Centres are eligible to receive the Kindergarten Fee Subsidy for each child who meets the following criteria:
- Is eligible to attend a funded kindergarten program, and
- Individually holds, or has a parent or guardian who holds, a Commonwealth Health Care Card or a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card or Visa 447, 451, 785 or 786, Visa A-F (bridging visas for asylum seekers), Visa 200-217 (Temporary Commonwealth refugee and special humanitarian visas), Department of Veteran Affairs Gold Card.
Or the child
- Is identified on the birth certificate as triplet or quadruplet; and
- The other two or three children on the birth certificate are attending a funded kindergarten program, and the child
- Does not have "approved" Commonwealth Child Care Benefit applied to the fee paid for the time spent in the funded kindergarten program.
- Where a family is experiencing genuine financial difficulties, if professional financial counselling is being undertaken and/or there are recognized financial difficulties, upon presentation of written documentation from a financial counselling agency, centres must attempt to undertake some financial arrangements with the family to ensure that the child has access to the kindergarten program.
- Committees must use the standard Fee Agreement form as provided by GKA.
- If the services of a debt collection agency or child exclusion are to be implemented this decision must be approved at a committee meeting and the Executive Officer of GKA must be informed prior to either taking place.
- All costs associated with a debt collection agency are to be borne by the family/fee payer.
- Committees must follow the GKA procedures for
- Collection of Unpaid Kindergarten Fees;
- Kindergarten Fee Subsidy; and
- Implementation of GKA Fee Policy
- If a family/fee payer feels that they have a grievance or believe they have been unfairly treated, they should be advised to follow the GKA Complaints Management policy. A copy of the complaint management procedure should be provided and assistance offered if requested.
- The successful implementation of this policy involves effective and timely communication between the Committee, family/fee payer and the centre’s kindergarten teacher.
- This policy must be readily accessible and communicated to all families.
- The staff are responsible for:
- Informing the Committee of any complaints/concerns that have been raised regarding the fees at the centre.
- Referring parents/guardians questions in relation to fees to the responsible Committee member.
- Assisting the committee as required in sighting supporting documentation for parents/guardians eligibility to assess the kindergarten fee subsidy.
- In order to assess whether the policy has achieved the values and purposes the committee and GKA Board will:
- Assess the effectiveness of the process for the collection of fees.
- Incorporate relevant questions within the general parents/guardians survey in relation to this policy.
- Take into account feedback from staff and parents/guardians regarding the policy.
- Monitor complaints and incidents regarding the policy.
- Review the number of families experiencing financial hardship and the effectiveness of the procedures for late payment and support offered.
- Review the numbers the families/children excluded from the centre because of the non-payment of fees.
Collection of Unpaid Kindergarten Fees procedure
GKA Kindergarten Fee Subsidy procedure
Implementation of GKA Fee Policy procedure
GKA Fee Agreement form
GKA Privacy and Disclosure Statement
Victorian kindergarten policy, procedures and funding criteria update 2009,
DEECD (2009) Kindergarten Fee Subsidy, Fees Policy
This policy was adopted by the Board of Directors of Geelong Kindergarten Association, at the Board Meeting on 10th October 2007. Reviewed and approved by the Executive Officer on 28th October 2008, March 2010.
The policy will be reviewed by the Bookkeeper annually or varied earlier if necessary from the Board approval date or where changes to subsidy arrangements occur in consultation with Committees. The Committee will within 28 days of making any change, notify the parents/guardians of any changes to the arrangement for the payments of fees (CSR, regulation 20(3)).