SINGAPORE - Teachers in primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges, will have to pay for parking from August.
Outdoor season parking will cost $75 a month during the school term, and $15 a month during the school holidays in June, November and December, The Straits Times has learnt.
At sheltered carparks, teachers will have to pay $100 monthly during the school term and $20 monthly during school holidays. This will add up to $720 annually for uncovered carparks and $960 for sheltered ones.
Motorcyclists will be charged $13 a month at uncovered carparks, and $2 during school holidays. Sheltered carpark fees will be $14 during the school term and $3 during school holidays. In a year, motorcyclists will pay $123 for unsheltered parking and $135 at sheltered carparks.
Teachers were briefed by their school leaders on Monday (March 26) on the introduction of carpark rates, imposed in line with the Public Service Division’s “clean wage” policy, which stipulates that salaries are fully accounted for, with no hidden perks and privileges.
There are about 360 primary and secondary schools and junior colleges. Parking charges will be the same across all schools, regardless of location.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said it has been working with the Public Service Division and the Ministry of Finance to “determine an appropriate treatment for staff parking in schools”.
“It has become increasingly clear that the current treatment of allowing school staff to park for free constitutes a taxable benefit, as the vast majority of school carparks are located near chargeable carparks and the carparks are intended for the use of staff and authorised visitors, with no access given to the general public,” said a spokesman.
She said that MOE took reference from HDB monthly season parking rates for non-residents – $90 for unsheltered carparks and $120 for covered ones – to determine the annual market value for school carparks.
In the process, it had considered inputs from a professional valuer while accounting for the restrictions on staff parking due to many spaces being reserved for school buses to park in the evenings and on weekends.
The spokesman added that the monthly rate during the school term is higher than during the holidays because demand for parking fluctuates significantly between the two periods.
“This better reflects a sense of fair charging and was an important feedback we took away from our consultations with school leaders on the implementation aspects of school parking charges,” she said.
The same charges will be implemented in independent and government-aided schools, including those sited on private land, to ensure “consistency and parity across schools”, said the spokesman.
The Public Service Division had indicated that MOE officers in non-government schools who get free or below market-rate parking would be considered to have received an employee subsidy.
Besides school teachers and staff, others who might need to pay for season parking include canteen stall operators, and coaches and instructors who go to schools regularly. Parking fees will not apply to ad hoc
visitors such as parents or volunteers.
The move comes after a review of free parking in schools started in 2015 by the Ministry of Education.
An Auditor-General's Office report had in the same year faulted some educational institutions for allowing their staff to park for free, or at fees below the market rate.
Such practices "are tantamount to providing hidden subsidies for vehicle parking", it had said in an annual report of financial lapses in public-sector bodies.
Staff in those institutions pay season parking rates of $80 a month for surface carparks and $110 monthly for sheltered carparks.