Brussels school may have to pay back funding after giving parents unclear invoices

Brussels school may have to pay back funding after giving parents unclear invoices

A Dutch-speaking primary school in Brussels might need to pay back part of its operating budget to the Flemish government after failing to provide parents with a transparent school bill.

The school board appealed the decision but this was rejected by the Flemish government, reports Bruzz, meaning that the school may have to pay back €10,000 in funding received from Flanders.

The issue began in 2019 when two parents brought complaints to the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie (VGC), which oversees Dutch-language education in Brussels.

The parents, whose children are said to be students of primary school Lucerna in Anderlecht, had received steep bills that didn’t include a breakdown of the charges.

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Even though the school was then instructed to give a more detailed invoice, they never did. The VGC therefore claimed 3% of the school’s operating budget as a fine – equivalent to around €10,000.

“Parents have the right to know what is being paid for with their money,” said Flemish Minister of Education Ben Weyts (N-VA).

“Most of the time it is possible to remedy problems and disputes without a hefty financial penalty,” he added, explaining that the sanction is exceptional.

“Financial transparency for parents is not a detail in school operation,” Weyts explained. “This is essential to be able to control costs, especially in primary education which in principle is free of charge.”

The school can still go to the Council of State or to an ordinary court in order to fight the sanction.

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