Parents angry over late notice of fee increase

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 September, 2008, 12:00am

A delay in informing parents of a hike in tuition fees for the new academic term has landed a local kindergarten in hot water.

The failure on the part of the Greenfield English (International) Kindergarten (Tung Chung) to inform parents of the HK$310 rise in monthly tuition fees before the summer holiday began has incurred the wrath of parents.

One parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the school failed to mail out notices of the fee increase during the summer break and he learned of the rise only after school started on August 8. Calling the rise a 'retrospective fee increase', the parent, whose four-year-old son started K2 this year, has written to the school and the Education Bureau demanding an explanation.

'As parents usually pick up their kids outside the school gate, they seldom go inside to see the notice board. They should have mailed the notices to us,' said the parent.

Principal Man Kam-wah said the school had to take responsibility for the delay in informing parents.

'We got written complaints from two parents. We have made a mistake in not informing the parents through letters,' said Ms Man. As a compensatory offer, the school let the parents pay the old monthly fee of $3,440 for August, with the new fee of $3,750 coming into effect this month.

Ms Man attributed the delay to the bureau's late reply to their application for a fee rise.

'Over the past three years, we got their reply at the end of June each time,' Ms Man said. 'We got it in mid-July this year. The people in charge were too busy with preparations for the graduation ceremonies then and didn't open the letter until several days later. By then, it was already too late to inform the parents as the holiday had already begun.'

She said annual fee adjustments were customary at the school and they had given parents a note in May saying they were awaiting EdB approval for the increase.

However, a bureau spokesman said the reply letter sent to the kindergarten was dated July 4, and the school should have had 'ample time' to inform parents because the school's holidays began on July 21.