I respect the philosophy that, and I quote, "No Catholic child is excluded from Catholic schools on the grounds of genuine financial difficulties." But, from a commercial point of view, this makes collecting unpaid school fees in this environment extremely difficult. Many Islamic schools have the same philosophy.
Most people ARE honest. I've worked in the area of account management for many years and still very firmly believe this to be a truism. BUT, there are ALWAYS (unfortunately) some people who abuse this, especially when they know that they don't HAVE to pay if they don't want to. They can cry "poor", not pay ... and, get away with it. It's very common to hear delegates in my workshops tell of families that could pay, but don't. I was in one New South Wales Catholic School a few years ago when the Principal said, "Look Michael. See that woman, over there, in the Mercedes, dripping in jewellery? She is not paying AND they've just come back from a holiday in the States." He went on to explain that he knew of other families who were "doing it tough", but were paying small token amounts in good faith. "It just isn't fair", he said, "and we can't do anything about it". I disagree. You CAN do something about it.
How to solve this dilemna.
- In the short-term, send this Circular.
- In the long-term, work out a plan-of-attack that will change the Car Park Chatter among parents from
* "If you can't afford the school fees, don't pay them. They won't kick Amy out of school" to
* "You'd better make a payment arrangement or do something because, although they won't kick Amy out of school now, they will sue YOU after she's left ... IF they think you could afford to pay but aren't".
And you only have to get firm with a few (very few) exited families and it won't take long for word to get around. (That's how one Catholic College improved their collection results from 79% to 106% in one year. They simply worked out a plan-of-attack, 'chased' a few selected exited families and collected more fee payments that had been raised that year!) more details ...
This simple strategy
- allows schools to show compassion to families in genuine poor financial circumstances, while, at the same time
- changes "Car Park Chatter" so that the (few) families intent on doing the wrong thing (not paying) realise that there WILL be consequences later.
"wait til your Father gets home" to
"wait til she leaves School".