Holidays, entertainment and eating out are the most common luxuries sacrificed by 60 per cent of parents to help pay for their child's education, an online poll reveals.
As 264,000 primary and secondary students across South Australia start heading back to school today, an adelaidenow survey on school costs shows that more than half of the 1600 respondents want public education to be free.
Uniting Communities spokesman Mark Henley says this is clearly an indication of the rising cost of living pressure families are under.
"Lower and middle income families are making even further sacrifices than those such as not getting dental care, not able to afford house insurance and are often cutting back on fresh fruit and vegetables," he said.
"It's interesting to ask what are essentials and what are luxuries. Is a week away from home with the family once a year a luxury or something you should be able to expect? What about dental care or superannuation contributions?
"We're not seeing any signs that cost of living pressures are letting up."
New clothes, house maintenance, and gym and/or sporting club membership were other areas where respondents said they had made sacrifices.
"(I sacrifice) everything. I'm a single mum and have put all three of my kids through private primary schooling. I literally don't/can't do anything," one respondent said.
Another said: "Kids got new clothes and shoes but not us."
Mr Henley said another area where his organisation had noted cutbacks was adult education.
"People's capacity to improve their own skills is being significantly eroded," he said.
They survey also revealed more than half of the respondents did not believe private schools should receive government funding.
Association of Independent Schools of SA executive director Garry Le Duff said the organisation's own national survey showed that the majority of people believed private schools should get some government funding.
"The overwhelming majority of parents whose children attend non-government schools pay taxes and on the basis of that they should have access to a fair share of the government funding and services for young people who are disadvantaged and have disabilities," he said.
Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said this highlighted community concern over the underfunding of public schools.
"The Gonski Review found governments are under-investing in education and public schools in particular and resources are not going to the schools and students that need them the most," he said, calling on the state and federal governments to work together.
Two in five respondents said school hours should be aligned with 9am to 5pm working hours.
By Sheradyn Holderhead
Source: Herald Sun - http://goo.gl/qV58L