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Some parents have expressed concerns regarding the new centralised book ordering process, the distribution of the books and the wish for more information with respect to the allocation of these funds. In response to these concerns the school management, the Parents’ Association and the Friends of Nelson Mandela have got together with a view to streamlining the book ordering process.

Resolution

On 20th March 2014 the Schulkonferenz (official school body comprised of representatives from the staff, pupils, parents and management) resolved to take advantage of the official recommendation to instate a central fund for the ordering of school materials. This fund covers not only the purchasing of all books needed for the school year but also all other educational resources required.

The parents were requested to make a flat rate contribution of €90 to the Book Fund for the current school year (2014/15), which is less than the legally stated maximum of €100 per child. In addition, the parents were requested to make a voluntary contribution of €50 to help finance the salaries of one employee in the IT Department and 4 part-time employees in the Library.

Improved ordering process and clarity

The various subject departments have carefully checked the book orders. The Friends of Nelson Mandela pays for the time spent on co-ordinating the ordering and payment process and the distribution of the books and resources. An extra bank account has been opened for the purpose of overseeing incoming and outgoing funds. The Friends of NMS and Parents’ Association (GEV) have commissioned an audit of the account to take place at the beginning of 2015 to confirm that the monies contributed to the Book Fund and the IT and Library fund have been spent as agreed. An official report will be submitted thereafter documenting the audit results.

Random checks in the Library should ensure that the books and resources purchased by the Book Fund are distributed free of charge to those who have paid the flat rate. The teaching staff have been instructed to order all books and resources required for the school year via the Book Fund. The Schulkonferenz also agreed in October 2014 to appoint a qualified accountant from the parent community to conduct a full audit of the books.

What does the Fund pay for?

The Book Fund not only covers the purchasing of conventional school books but also all other teaching/learning resources required e.g. Duden, atlases, maps, class sets of language literature, photocopies, working material and scripts. In the past, an extra charge has been made for all such items. This school year we have also seen the purchasing of IT equipment, sports equipment, graphics computers, special materials for dyslexia and the equipping of a kitchen. These alone add up to close to €30,000.

Participation

We are very pleased with the outcome of the centralised book ordering process this school year. 83% of all pupils have contributed to the Book Fund (as of 10th October 2014). 2/3 of those who have not contributed attend the upper secondary. The Nelson Mandela School currently has 1,350 pupils.

We are particularly pleased that 88% of those contributing to the central book fund have also made the additional voluntary contribution to the IT and Library departments. We would like to thank all of those who have supported this initiative – your contribution has helped to raise an additional €46,000!

However, this will not entirely cover the €52,000 planned expenditure per school year. And there are additional costs on top of this. At the end of this year there will be an increase in the salaries of those members of staff employed by tjfbg GmbH – financed by a donation from the Friends of NMS. The need to set up the IT infrastructure in B24 will require an increase in the number of hours worked by the IT staff. The Friends of NMS will make a further €10,000 available for this purpose.

Income

To date just under €200,000 have been received, of which roughly €100,000 comes from the Book Fund, plus €46,000 voluntary contribution for IT and Library. The Bezirksamt (Local Authority) and the Senate have contributed a further €46,000 and €7,000 have come from a surplus from previous years. The Senate and Local Authority have promised further contributions and we hope to receive another €2,500 in the form of discounts for the high volume of books and materials ordered.

Appeal for the Book Fund

In order for the Book Fund to be a complete success we need to increase participation. We believe that the sum of €90 to cover the cost of all books and materials needed for the school year is not unreasonable for most families. The Berlin Pass supports low-income families (but unfortunately only pays €25 per pupil). Families who do not qualify for the Berlin Pass but are unable to pay this contribution can apply to the ‘Kids in Need’ programme of The Friends of NMS.

The number of conventional school books used in the future is expected to decrease and will be replaced by materials produced by the teaching staff and more digital media. By having a centralised book and teaching resources fund we can reduce the cost of purchasing new media, ensure a greater reutilisation of school books, thereby increasing the funds available to improve school resources. The Book Fund is a further example of the Nelson Mandela School community’s common social ideal of solidarity.

The Schulkonferenz will meet at the beginning of 2015 to decide on the continuation of the Book Fund for the coming school year 2015/16. In the meantime we would like to encourage the school community to join this discussion with suggestions and constructive criticism in order to make further improvements and subsequently make this fund more attractive to even more families.

It’s not too late to join!

If you have not yet paid but would like to participate in the Book Fund you are welcome to pay the €90 plus €50 voluntary contribution for IT/library. Kindly make your transfer to the following account which is administered by The Friends of NMS:

Account No.: 1020232036
BLZ: 100 900 00 (Berliner Volksbank)
IBAN: DE88100900001020232036
BIC: BEVODEBB

Friends of NMS

If you would like to make a donation to the Friends of NMS please use the following account. Naturally we are always delighted to welcome new members! This is also the account used for membership fees.

Account No.: 1020232001
Bankleitzahl: 100 900 00 (Berliner Volksbank)
IBAN: DE63100900001020232001
BIC: BEVODEBB

A tax receipt can be issued for the €50 voluntary Library/IT contribution. As we are currently in the process of co-ordinating the issuing of 900 tax receipts for varying amounts, this will take some further time. We will keep you informed of our progress on this.

Many thanks to you for supporting our efforts with the Book Fund.

Jochen Frenzel
Vorstand Förderverein

Christian Nitschke
Principal

14 November 2014

New parents & students

Parents & guardians, pay into the Educational Fund!

The flatrate payment for the Educational Fund ensures that students receive necessary materials. Participation is ongoing throughout the year.

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Any questions?

Here is the contact list.

School offices:

  • Pfalzburger Straße 23 (P23), Flex-6
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  • Pfalzburger Straße 30 (P30), 7-13
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  • Babelsberger Straße 24-25 (B24), Flex-10
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