Pupils attending Kilkenny College are being asked to pay a voluntary contribution of E2,000 per year to take part in extra curricular activities.
The school went from being a pay feeing school to a public school this week.
Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr Martin Brett said that while the school could charge what it wanted, he asked if it was right for a public school to seek that amount of money, especially during a recession. “It just does not fit in with the ethos of public education,” he said.
The Department of Education said that the manner in which such voluntary contributions are sought and collected is a matter for school management.
The school is very open about the situation and said: “Prior to acceptance into the free tuition scheme the college cleared with department officials out-of-school time options similar to those provided in several other schools. The optional programme combines a range of services from music lessons to extra sports, clubs, meals and supervised afternoon/evening study.
“To cater for many interests the programme is extensive, requires a wide range of skilled people and maintenance of facilities, all of which incurs costs not covered by the state. While participation out of hours is a matter of individual choice, it does incur a cost and Kilkenny College has established a bursary scheme to help give maximum access for children who want to take up the option,” headmaster, Ian Coombes said.