Kids kept out of formals over parent's unpaid fees

BUNDAMBA MP Jo-Ann Miller quizzed her Labor colleague during a parliamentary budget estimates hearing on Tuesday about school fees and said students in the electorate were not allowed to attend school formals if their school fees had not been paid.

"Some people believe that state school education is free - it's not," Ms Miller said.

She asked Education Minister Kate Jones to outline the costs parents had to pay to schools, and the retribution for students whose parents cannot afford to pay.

"I can tell you now they're not allowed to go to school formals if the fees or charges have not been paid," Ms Miller said.

"It's a very big issue and it's not the kid's fault".

Ms Jones said excluding students like this was against the department's policy and that she did not endorse any retribution against students.

Ms Jones said schools had flexibility to ask for co-payments but that it was clear "that under no circumstances should any child be discriminated against because of their ability or inability to pay those fees".

Ms Miller also used the estimates hearing to ask the minister about relocatable buildings at Springfield Central State High School.

"Relocatable buildings tend to become permanent buildings," she said.

Ms Miller said she was a former Bremer State High School student and that they started their education in "tin sheds" that stayed there for generations. She asked for the relocatable buildings to be moved as soon as possible.

Ms Miller is the former police minister and fell out with her party leadership after a parliamentary ethics committee report found she had acted "recklessly" in failing to destroy a sensitive document. - ARM NEWSDESK