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No tuition discounts from Baguio private schools

/ 04:00 AM May 08, 2020

BAGUIO CITY—Private schools in this city have turned down petitions to offer parents and students tuition discounts for the uncompleted school year, saying the lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has substantially reduced their revenue.

The Association of Private School Administrators (Apsa) here said all grade schools and high schools had been reeling from uncollected fee obligations after families were told to stay indoors in March, said its president, Annie Marie Caguioa.

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“Private schools cannot afford to give discounts but they will defer payment of unpaid balances,” she told the city council on Monday.

Caguioa and other school administrators attended the council’s regular session to clarify two pending resolutions that urged them to impose tuition discounts and to refund fully paid tuition after some families lost their jobs or livelihood during the quarantine.

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Private schools are conducting a fiscal inventory to determine if some unspent fees for the scuttled school year could be returned. About 100,000 elementary and high school students enrolled in June last year.

According to Caguioa, private schools will rely on tuition to pay teachers’ salaries until July and other operational expenses.

Despite the extended enhanced community quarantine, the Department of Education has required the schools to finish the fourth quarter of the school year, she said.

Fee petitions

But because of the pandemic, some schools have withdrawn petitions to raise tuition for the new school year, which has been reset from June to August.

The resolutions were circulated online, drawing “varied reactions that brought false hopes, anxiety and even acts of intimidation from some parents toward private schools,” Caguioa said.

Forcing them to comply would mean some schools would shut down since they can no longer afford to pay their teachers, said Marlon Angaga, Apsa vice president.

Councilor Vladimir Cayabas, who runs a local college, said he sponsored a resolution requesting fee discounts “mainly for students whose classes are to end in May.”

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“But that will depend on their financial capability. If they can subsidize discounts, then good. If they can’t, then we can’t compel them,” he said. “We understand that some schools are opposed as they have been affected but parents have been badly hit, too,” he added. —KIMBERLIE QUITASOL INQ

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TAGS: Baguio, Education, tuition
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