GREATER Shepparton City Council Mayor Geoff Dobson is encouraging parents of children at Council’s kindergartens to have their say on proposed fee increases.
Cr Dobson said kindergarten fees at Council’s 13 children’s centres had traditionally been substantially lower than those charged by other local providers.
“Our kindergarten fees have been heavily subsidised over the years,” Cr Dobson said.
“The fee increases proposed in Council’s draft Budget for 2011-12 are in line with, or lower, than fees charged by most other local providers and Councils across the State.”
The draft Budget recommends increases from $110 a term to $175 a term.
Cr Dobson said today he met with Jenny Seidel from Shepparton who handed him letters from parents and petitions signed by people who were against the amount of the fee increase.
Yesterday Councillors Cherie Crawford and Michael Polan also met with parents at Mooroopna’s Echuca Rd Kindergarten to discuss the proposed fee increases.
“We recognise that the proposed fee increases are creating some concern among some families,” Cr Dobson said.
“And the families understand that Council is under pressure to meet ever-increasing operational costs and needs to share the cost of providing the service to users more equitably and fairly among ratepayers.”
Cr Dobson said new State and Federal government minimum qualification requirements and staffing ratios added to the cost of providing kindergarten programs.
“As well as ensuring our staff continues to provide and deliver high-quality, contemporary programs, many of our facilities are aging and in need of significant upgrades to ensure they remain safe and inviting learning environments for our children,” Cr Dobson said.
“It’s complex; we need parents’ input on this matter so we can find a workable solution so I encourage anyone who has a view about any of the proposals in the draft Budget to make a submission by June 15.”
The draft Budget can be viewed online at www.greatershepparton.com.au or at Council’s Welsford St office.